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Full text of "Final report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate : together with additional, supplemental, and separate views"

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April 26 (legislative day, April 14) , 1976 




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FRANK CHURCH, Idaho, Ohairman ; 

JOHN G. TOWER, Texas, Vice Chairman f | 

PHILIP A. HART, Michigan HOWARD H. BAKER, Jr., Teniiessee' 



ROBERT MORGAN, North Carolina RICHARD S. SCHWEIKER, Pennsylvania 

GARY HART, Colorado ' 

William G. Miller, Staff Director 

Frederick A. O. Schwarz, Jr., Chief Counsel 

Curtis R. Smothers, Counsel to the Minority 

Audrey Hatry, Clerk of the Committee 



On behalf of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental 
Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, and pursuant to 
the mandate of Senate Resolution 21, I am transmitting herewith to 
the Senate the volume of the Committee's Final Report which presents 
the results of the Committee's investigation into Federal domestic 
intelligence activities. 

The Committee's findings and conclusions concerning abuses in intel- 
ligence activity and weaknesses in the system of accountability and 
control are amply documented. I believe they make a compelling case 
for substantial reform. The recommendations section of this volume 
sets forth in detail the Committee's proposals for reforms necessary 
to protect the right of Americans. The facts revealed by the Commit- 
tee's inquiry into the development of domestic intelligence activity are 
outlined in the balance of the vokune. 

I would add one principal comment on the results of the Commit- 
tee's inquiry : The root cause of the excesses which our record amply 
demonstrates has been failure to apply the wisdom of the constitu- 
tional system of checks and balances to intelligence activities. Our 
experience as a nation has taught us that we must place our trust in 
laws, and not solely in men. The founding fathers foresaAv excess as 
the inevitable consequence of granting any part of government un- 
checked power. This has been demonstrated in the intelligence field 
where, too often, constitutional principles were subordinated to a prag- 
matic course of permitting desired ends to dictate and justify improper 

Our recommendations are designed to place intelligence activities 
within the constitutional scheme for controlling government power. 

The members of this Committee have served with utmost diligence 
and dedication. We haA^o had 126 Full Connnittee meetings, scores of 
other sessions at which Senators presided at depositions for the tak- 
ing of testimony, and over 40 subcommittee meetings devoted to 
drafting the two volumes of our final report. I thank each and every 
one of my colleagues for their hard work and for their <letermina- 
tion that the job be done fully and fairly. 

John Tower's service as Vice Chairman was essential to our effec- 
tiveness from start to finish. This inquiry could have been distracted 
by partisan argument over allocating the blame for intelligence ex- 
cesses. Instead, we have unanimously concluded that intelligence prob- 
lems are far more fundamental. They are not the product of any 
single administration, party, or man. 

At the outset of this particular volume, special mention is also due 
to Senator Walter F. Mondale for his chairmanship of the subcom- 
mittee charged Avith drafting the final report on domestic intelligence 
activity. During our hearings. Senator Mondale helped to bring into 
focus the threats posed to the rights of American citizens. He and his 



domestic subcommittee colleagues — Senator Howard Baker, as rank- 
ing Minority member, and Senators Philip Hart, Robert Morgan and 
Richard Schweiker — deserve great credit for the complete and com- 
pelling draft which they presented to the Full Committee. 

The staff of the Committee has worked long, hard and well. With- 
out their work over the past year — and during many long nights and 
weekends — the Committee could not have come close to coping with 
its massive job. I commend and thank them all. The staff members 
whose work was particularly associated with this volume and its sup- 
plementary detailed reports are listed in Appendix C, 

Frank Church, 



In January 1975, the Senate resolved to establish a Committee to: 

conduct an investigation and study of governmental opera- 
tions with respect to intelligence activities and the extent, if 
any, to which illegal, improper, or unethical activities were 
engaged in by any agency of the Federal Government.^ 

This Connnittee was organized shortly thereafter and has conducted 
a year-long investigation into the intelligence activities of the United 
States Government, the first substantial inquiry into the intelligence 
community since World War 11. 

The inquiry arose out of allegations of substantial wrongdoing by 
intelligence agencies on behalf of the administrations which they 
served. A deeper concern underlying the investigation was Avhether this 
Government's intelligence activities were governed and controlled 
consistently with the fundamental principles of American constitu- 
tional government — that power must be checked and balanced and 
that the preservation of liberty requires the restraint of laws, and 
not simply the good intentions of men. 

Our investigation has confirmed that properly controlled and lawful 
intelligence is vital to the nation's interest. A strong and effective 
intelligence system serves, for example, to monitor potential military 
threats from the Soviet ITnion and its allies, to verify compliance with 
international agreements such as SALT, and to combat espionage and 
international terrorism. These, and many other necessary and proper 
functions are performed by dedicated and hard working employees of 
the intelligence community. 

The Committee's investigation has, however, also confirmed substan- 
tial wrongdoing. And it has demonstrated that intelligence activities 
have not generally been governed and controlled in accord with the 
fundamental principles of our constitutional system of government. 

The task faced by this Connnittee was to propose effective measures 
to prevent intelligence excesses, and at the same time to propose sound 
guidelines and oversight procedures with which to govern and control 
legitimate activities. 

Having concluded its investigation, the Cammitte^ issues its reports ^ 
for the purposes of : 

providing a fair factual basis for informed Congressional 
and public debate on critical issues affecting the role of gov- 
ernmental intelligence activities in a free society ; and 

' Senate Resolution 21, January 27, 1975, Sec. 1. The full text of S. Res. 21 is 
printed at Appendix A. 

^ The Committee's final report is divided into two main volumes. The balance 
of this volume covers domestic activities of intelligence agencies and their activi- 
ties overseas to the extent that they affect the constitutional rights of Americans. 
The other volume covers all other activities of United States foreign and military 
intelligence agencies. 

The Committee has previously issued the reports and hearing records set forth 
in Appendix B. 



recommending such legislative and executive action as, in the 
judgment of the Committee, is appropriate to prevent re- 
currence of past abuses and to insure adequate coordination, 
control and oversight of the nation's intelligence resources, 
capabilities, and activities. 

A. The Committee's Mandate 

In elaboration of the broad mandate set forth at the outset of this 
Report, the Senate charged the Committee with investigating fourteen 
specific "matters or questions" and with reporting the "full facts" on 
them. The fourteen enumerated matters and questions concern: (i) 
what kind of activities have been — and should be — undertaken by 
intelligence agencies; (ii) whether those activities conform to law 
and the Constitution; and (iii) how intelligence agencies have been — 
and should be — coordinated, controlled and overseen.^ 

In addition to investigating the "full facts" with respect to such 
matters, the Committee was instructed to determine : 

Whether any of the existing laws of the United States are 
inadequate, either in their provisions or manner of enforce- 
ment, to safeguard the rights of American citizens, to im- 
prove executive and legislative control of intelligence and 
related activities and to resolve uncertainties as to the au- 
thority of United States intelligence and related agencies. 
[Id., Sec. 2 (12)] 

B. The Major Questioits 

Our investigation addressed the structure, history, activities and 
policies of America's most important intelligence agencies. The Com- 
mittee looked beyond the operation of individual agencies to examine 
common themes and patterns inherent in intelligence operations. In 
the course of its investigation, the Committee has sought to answer 
three broad questions : 

First, whether domestic intelligence activities have been 
consistent with law and with the individual liberties guar- 
anteed to American citizens by the Constitution, 

Second, whether America's foreign intelligence activities 
have served the national interest in a manner consistent with 
the nation's ideals and with national purposes. 

' S. Res. 21, Sec. 2. Examples of the "matters or questions" include : 

"The conduct of domestic intelligence or counterintelligence operations against 
United States citizens" by the FBI or other agencies. [Sec. 2(2)] ; 

"The violation or suspected violation of law" by intelligence agencies [Sec. 

Allegations of CIA "domestic" activity, and the relationship bet\Aeen CIA 
responsibility to protect sources and methods and the prohibition of its exer- 
cising law enforcement powers or internal security functions [Sec. 2(1), (6)] ; 

"The origin and disposition of the so-called Huston Plan" [Sec. 2(7) (9)]; 

"The extent and necessity' of "covert intelligence activities abroad [Sec. 

Whether there is excessive duplication or inadequate coordination among 
inteUigence agencies [Sec. 2(4) (13)] and 

The "nature and extent" of executive oversight [Sec. 2(7) (9)] and the "need 
for improved, strengthened or consolidated' Congressional oversight [Sec. 


Third, whether the institutional procedures for directing 
and controlling intelligence agencies have adequately ensured 
their compliance with policy and law, and whether those pro- 
cedures have been based upon the system of checks and bal- 
ances among the branches of government required by our 

The Committee fully subscribes to the premise that intelligence 
agencies perform a necessary and proper function. The Preamble to 
the Constitution states that our government was created, in part, to 
"insure domestic tranquility [and] provide for the common defense." 
Accurate and timely intelligence can and does help meet those goals. 

The Committee is also mindful, however, of the danger which in- 
telligence collection, and intelligence operations, may pose for a so- 
ciety grounded in democratic principles. The Preamble to our Con- 
stitution also declares that our gover-nment was created to "secure the 
blessings of liberty'' and to "establish justice". If domestic intelli- 
gence agencies ignore those principles, they may threaten the very 
values that form the foundation of our society. Similarly, if the gov- 
ernment conducts foreign intelligence operations overseas which are 
inconsistent with our national ideals, our reputation, goals, and in- 
fluence abroad may be undercut. 

C. The Nature or the Committee's Investigation 


Necessarily, the Committee had to be selective. To investigate every- 
thing relevant to intelligence — and even everything relevant to the 
fundamental issues on which we had decided to focus — would take for- 
ever. Our job was to discover — and suggest solutions for — the major 
problems "at the earliest practical date".* 

Accordingly, the Committee had to choose the particular Govern- 
mental entities upon which we would concentrate and then further 
had to choose particular cases to investigate in depth. 

INIany agencies, departments or bureaus of the Federal Government 
have an intelligence function. Of these, the Committee spent the over- 
whelming preponderance of its energies on five : 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation; The Central Intelli- 
gence Agency ; The National Security Agency ; The national 
intelligence components of the Defense Department (other 
than NSA) ; and The National Security Council and its com- 
ponent parts.^ 

The agencies upon which the Committee concentrated are those 
whose powers are so great and whose practices were so extensive that 
they must be undei-stood in order fairly to judge whether the intelli- 
gence system of the Ignited States needs reform and change. 

Having selected the agencies to emphasize, the Committee also had to 
select representative programs and policies on which to concentrate. 
Theie were many more possible issues and allegations to investigate 

* S. Res. 21 : Sec. 5. 

^ Substantial work was also done on intelligence activities of the Internal Reve- 
nue Service and the State Department. 


than could be covered fully and fairly. The principles which guided our 
choices were: 

(1) More is learned by investigating tens of programs and 
incidents in depth rather than hundreds superficially. Our 
goal was to understand causes and, where appropriate, to sug- 
gest solutions. 

(2) Cases most likely to produce general lessons should 
receive the most attention, 

(3) Programs were examined from each administration 
beginning with Franklin Roosevelt's. This assured under- 
standing of the historical context within which intelligence 
activities have developed. Fundamental issues concerning the 
conduct and character of the nation deserve nonpartisan 
treatment. It has become clear from our inquiry, moreover, 
that intelligence excesses, at home and abroad, have been 
found in every administration. They are not the product of 
any single party, administration, or man. 


(a) The Focus on Problem, Areas 

The intelligence community has had broad responsibility for activi- 
ties beyond those which we investigated as possibly "illegal, improper, 
or unethical". Our reports primarily address problem areas and the 
command and control question generallv. However, the intelligence 
community performs vital tasks outside the areas on which our inves- 
tigation concentrated. This point must be kept in mind in fairness to 
the agencies, and to their employees who have devoted their careers to 
the nation's service. Moreover, one of many reasons for checking: intel- 
ligence excesses is to restore the confidence, good name, and effective- 
ness of intelligence agencies so that they may better serve the nation 
in the future.^ 

[h) Caution on Questions of Individual ''''Guilt?'' or '''■Innocence''^ 

A Senate Committee is not a prosecutor, a grand jury or a court. It 
is far better suited to determine how things went wrong and what can 
be done to prevent their going wrong again, than to resolve disputed 
questions of individual "guilt" or "innocence". For the resolution of 
those questions we properly rely on the courts. 

Of course, to understand the past in order to better propose guid- 
ance for the future, the Committee had to investigate the facts under- 
lying charges of wrongdoing. Facts involve people. Therefore, the 
Committee has necessarily had to determine what particular individ- 
uals appear to have done and, on occasion, to make judgments on their 
responsibility. We have, however, recognized our limitations and at- 
tempted to be cautious in reaching those judgments ; the reader should 
be similarly cautious in evaluating our judgments. 

The Committee's hope is that this report wnll provoke a national 
debate not on "Who did it?", but on "How did it happen and what can 
be done to keep it from happening again ?" 

* Indeed, it is likely that in some cases the high priority ffiven to activities that 
appear qnestionahle has reduced the attention given to other vital matters. Thus, 
the FBI, for example, has placed more emphasis on domestic dissent than on orga- 
nized crime and, according to some, let its efforts against foreign spies suffer 
because of the amount of time spent checking up on American protest groups. 


(c) Ability to See the Full Scope of the ProhleTn 

This Committee examined a very broad range of issues and com- 
piled a hughe factual record " which covers : 

(i) the origins and development of intelligence programs 
over seven administrations ; 

(ii) intelligence activities both at home and abroad; and 
(iii) the programs and practices of the several most im- 
portant intelligence agencies. 

Thus, for the first time, based upon the Committee's investigation, it 
is possible to examine the patterns of intelligence activity and not! 
merely isolated incidents. 

The issues for the country to resolve are best posed by looking, as 
we have done, at the aggregate, rather than at particular incidents 
in isolation. Neither the dangers, nor the causes, nor the possible 
solutions can be fairly evaluated without considering both the broad 
patterns of intelligence activity which emerge from examining par- 
ticular cases over the past several decades, and the cumulative effect 
of activities of different agencies. For example, individual cases or 
programs of governmental surveillance may constitute interference 
with constitutionally protected rights of privacy and dissent. But 
only by examining the cumulative impact of many such programs 
can the danger of "Big Brother Government" be realistically assessed. 
Only by understanding the full breadth of governmental efforts 
against dissenters can one w^eigh the extent to w^hich those efforts may 
chill lawful assembly and free expression. 

D. The Purpose of the Committee's Findings and Recommendations 

The central goal of the Committee is to make informed recom- 
mendations — based upon a detailed and balanced factual investiga- 
tion — about : 

(1) which intelligence activities ought to be permitted, and 
which should be restricted or prohibited ; and 

(2) what controls and organizational structure are needed 
to keep intelligence operations both effective and consistent 
with this country's most basic values and fundamental in- 

■^ Some 800 witnesses were examined, approximately 2.50 under oath in 
executive sessions, 50 in public sessions, and the balance in interviews. The 
aggregate number of transcript pages is almost 30,000. Approximately 110,000 
document pages were obtained from the various intelligence agencies (still more 
were preliminarily reviewed at the agencies), as well as from the White House, 
presidential libraries, and other sources. 

Over the course of its investigation the Committee has had generally good 
cooperation in obtaining information from the intelligence agencies and the Ad- 
ministration. Of, there were problems, particularly at the outset — com- 
pliance took too long; bureaucratic rules such as the "third agency rule" (which 
required agencies other than the custodian of the document to review it if they 
were mentioned) were frustrating. But our experience suggests that those prob- 
lems can be worked out. 

The most important lesson to be derived from our experience is that effective 
oversight is impossible without regular access to the underlying working docu- 
ments of the intelligence community. Top level briefings do not adequately de- 
scribe the realities. For that the documents are a necessary supplement and at 
times the only source. 

The first step for this Committee, its successor oversight Committees 
and the Congress as a whole is to devise the legal framework within 
which intelligence agencies can, in the future, be guided, checked and 
operate both properly and efficiently. A basic law — a charter of pow- 
ers, duties, and limitations — does not presently exist for some of the 
most important intelligence activities {e.g.^ FBI's domestic intelli- 
gence or NSA) or, where it does exist, as with CIA, it is vague, con- 
flicting and incomplete. 

The absence of laws and the lack of clarity in those that exist has 
had the effect, if not the intention, of keeping vital issues of national 
importance away from public debate. 

This Committee's job was to pose the issues that have been ignored 
for decades. The technique for doing so was to investigate and then 
to propose basic laws and other rules as to what can and cannot be 
done, and on the appropriate command and control structure for in- 
telligence activities. 

There are many other questions, such as the efficiency, cost and 
quality of intelligence, which are also of vital national importance. 
We have also examined these matters and consider them in this re- 
port. But, the main emphasis of our investigation was on what 
should be done and not on how it should be done. We seek in our rec- 
ommendations to lay the underlying legal foundation, and the con- 
trol and oversight structure for the intelligence community. If these 
are sound, then we have faith that the other questions will be an- 
swered correctly in the future. But if the foundation is unsound or 
remains unfinished — or if intelligence agencies continue to operate 
under a structure in which executive power is not effectively checked 
and examined — then we will have neither quality intelligence nor a 
society which is free at home and respected abroad. 



Letter of Transmittal iii 

I. INTRODUCTION AND" SUMMARY I ] lllllllllllllllllllllll 1 

A. Intelligence Activity: A New Form of Governmental Power 

to Impair Citizens' Rights 2 

B. The Questions 4 

C. Summary of the Main Problems 5 

1. The Number of People Affected by Domestic Intelli- 

gence Activity 6 

2. Too Much Information Is Collected For Too Long. - 7 

3. Covert Action and the Use of Illegal or Improper 

Means 10 

a. Covert Action 10 

(1) The FBI's COINTELPRO 10 

(2) Martin Luther King, Jr 11 

b. Illegal or Improper Means 12 

(1) Mail Opening 12 

(2) NSA Monitoring 12 

(3) Electronic Surveillance 12 

(4) Political Abuse 13 

(5) Surreptitious Entries 13 

(6) Informants 13 

4. Ignoring the Law 13 

5. Deficiencies in Accountability and Control 14 

6. The Adverse Impact of Improper Intelligence Ac- 

tivity 15 

a. General Efforts to Discredit 15 

b. Media Manipulation 15 

c. Distorting Data to Influence Government 

Policy and Public Perceptions 16 

d. "Chilling" First Amendment Rights 17 

e. Preventing the Free Exchange of Ideas 17 

7. Cost and Value 18 


A. Summary 21 

1 . The Lesson : Historv Repeats Itself 21 

2 . The Pattern : Broadening Through Time 21 

3. Three Periods of Growth for Domestic Intelligence. .- 22 

B. Establishing a Permanent Domestic Intelligence Structure: 

1936-1945 23 

1. Background: The Stone Standard 23 

2. Main Developments of the 1936-1945 Period 24 

3. Domestic Intelligence Authority: Vague and Conflict- 

ing Executive Orders 24 

a. The Original Roosevelt Orders 25 

b. Orders in 1938-39: The Vagueness of "Sub- 

versive Activities" and "Potential" Crimes- 25 

c. Orders 1940-43: The Confusion Continues- _. 27 

4. The Role of Congress 28 

a. Executive Avoidance of Congress 28 

b. Congress Declines to Confront the Issue 29 




B. Establishing a Permanent Domestic Intelligence Structure — 

1936-1945 Continued Page 

5. Scope of Domestic Intelligence 30 

a. Beyond Criminal Investigations 30 

b. "Infiltration" Investigations 31 

c. Partisan Use 33 

d. Centralized Authority: FBI and Military 

Intelligence 33 

6. Control by the Attorney General: Compliance and 

Resistance 34 

7. Intrusive Techniques : Questionable Authorization 36 

a. Wiretaps: A Strained Statutory Interpreta- 

tion 36 

b. Bugging, Mail Opening, and Surreptitious 

Entry 38 

C. Domestic Intelligence in the Cold War Era: 1946-1963 38 

1. Main Developments of the 1946-1963 Period 38 

2. Domestic Intelligence Authority 40 

a. Anti-Communist Consensus 40 

b. The Federal Employee Loyalty-Security Pro- 

gram 42 

(1) Origins of the Program 42 

(2) Breadth of Investigations 43 

(3) FBI Control of Loyalty-Security In- 

vestigations 44 

c. Executive Directives: Lack of Guidance and 

Controls 45 

3. Scope of Domestic Intelligence 46 

a. "Subversive Activities" 46 

(1) The Number of Investigations 47 

(2) Vague and Sweeping Standards 47 

(3) COMINFIL 48 

(4) Exaggeration of Communist In- 

fluence 49 

b. "Racial Matters" and "Hate Groups" 50 

c. FBI Political Intelligence for the White 

House 51 

d. IRS Investigation of Political Organizations.- 53 

4. Accountability and Control 54 

a. Emergency Detention Act 54 

b. Withholding Information 55 

c. CIA Domestic Activity 56 

(1) Vague Controls on CIA 56 

(2) Drug Testing and Cover Programs. _ 56 

5. Intrusive Techniques 58 

a. Communication Interception: CIA and NSA. 58 

b. FBI Covert Techniques 60 

(1) Electronic Surveillance 60 

(2) "Black Bag" Jobs 61 

(3) Mail Opening 62 

c. Use of FBI Wiretaps 62 

6. Domestic Covert Action 65 

a. COINTELPRO: Communist Party 65 

b. Early Expansion of COINTELPRO 67 

D. Intelligence and Domestic Dissent: 1964-1976 67 

1. Main Points During the 1964-1976 Period 67 

2. Scope of Domestic Intelligence 70 

a. Domestic Protest and Dissent: FBI 7o 

(1) Racial Intelligence 71 

(2) "New Left" Intelligence 72 

b. FBI Informants 74 

(1) Infiltration of the Klan 74 


D. Intelligence and Domestic Dissent: 1964-1976 — Continued 

2. Scope of Domestic Intelligence — Continued 

b. FBI Informants — Continued 

(2) "Listening Posts" in the Black Com- Page 

munity 75 

(3) Infiltration of the "New Left" 76 

c. Army Surveillance of Civilian Political 

Activity 77 

d. Federal Encouragement of Local Police 

Intelligence 77 

e. The Justice Department's Interdivision In- 

formation Unit (IDIU) 78 

f. COMINFIL Investigations: Overbreadth 81 

3. Domestic Intelligence Authority 82 

a. FBI Intelligence 82 

b. Army Intelligence 84 

c. FBI Interagency Agreements 85 

4. Domestic Covert Action 86 


(1) Klan and "White Hate" 86 

(2) "Black Nationalist" COINTELPRO 87 

(3) "New Left" COINTELPRO 88 

b. FBI Target Lists 89 

(1) "Rabble Rouser/ Agitator" Index. _ 89 

(2) "Key Activist" Program 90 

(3) "Key Black Extremist" Program 91 

(4) Security Index 91 

c. Internal Revenue Service Programs 93 

(1) Misuse by FBI and CIA 93 

(2) The Special Service Staff: IRS Tar- 

geting of Ideological Groups 94 

5. Foreign Intelligence and Domestic Dissent 96 

a. Origins of CIA Involvement in "Internal Se- 

curity Functions" 96 

b. CIA Intelligence About Domestic Political 

Groups 98 

(1) CIA Response to FBI Requests 98 

(2) Operation CHAOS 99 

c. CIA Security Operations Within the United 

States : Protecting "Sources" and "Methods" _ 102 

d. NSA Monitoring 104 

6. Intrusive Techniques 104 

a. Warrantless Electronic Surveillance 105 

(1) Executive Branch Restrictions on 

Electronic Surveillance: 1965-68.. _ 105 

(2) Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968. 106 

(3) Supreme Court Restrictions on Na- 

tional Security Electronic Surveil- 
lance: 1972 107 

b. CIA Mail Opening 107 

c. Expansion of NSA Monitoring 108 

d. FBI Cutbacks 109 

(1) The Long Subcommittee Investiga- 

tion 109 

(2) Director Hoover's Restrictions 110 

7. Accountability and Control 111 

a. The Huston Plan: A Domestic Intelligence 

Network 111 

(1) Intelligence Community Pressures 112 

(2) The Interagency Committee Report-. 113 

(3) Implementation 115 



D. Intelligence and Domestic Dissent: 1964-1976 — Continued 

7. Accountability and Control — Continued P'lge 

b. Political Intelligence 116 

(1) Name Check Requests 116 

(2) Democratic National Convention, At- 

lantic City, 1964 117 

(3) By-Product of Foreign Intelligence 

Coverage 119 

(4) The Surveillance of Joseph Kraft 

(1969) 121 

(5) The "17" Wiretaps 122 

c. The Justice Department's Internal Security 

Division 1 122 

(1) The "new" Internal Security Division. 123 

(2) The SuUivan-Mardian Relationship.. 124 

d. The FBI's Secret "Administrative Index" 125 

8. Reconsideration of FBI Authority 127 

a. Developments in 1972-1974 128 

b. Recent Domestic Intelligence Authority 131 

III. FINDINGS! .' 137 

A. Major Finding: Violating and Ignoring the Law 137 

Subfindings : 

(a) Violating Statutory Law and Constitutional 

Rights 139 

(b) Ignoring Illegal Issues 140 

(c) Continuing Legal Activities 141 

(d) Tightening Security for Illegal Activities 146 

(e) Concealing Illegal Activities 149 

(f) Weakness of Internal Inspection 152 

(g) Weakness of Oversight by Senior Administration 

Officials 157 

B. Major Finding: The Overbreadth of Domestic Intelligence 

Activity 165 

Subfindings : 

(a) Broad Scope of Investigations 167 

(b) Imprecise Standards for Investigations 169 

(c) Overinclusive Targeting 172 

(d) "Vacuum Cleaner" Approach 178 

(e) Excessively Long Investigations 179 

C. Major Finding: Excessive Use of Intrusive Techniques 183 

Subfindings : 

(a) Insufficient Legal Standards and Procedures 185 

(b) Excessive Collection Coupled with Violent and 

Illegal Activities of Informants and Difficulty 

of Limiting Surveillance 192 

(c) Imprecise Labels Lead to Abusive Use of 

Techniques 205 

D. Major Finding: Using Covert Action to Disrupt and Dis- 

credit Domestic Groups 211 


(a) Targeting Law- Abiding Citizens 213 

(b) Interference With First Amendment Rights 214 

(c) Dangerous Covert Tactics 216 

(d) Actions Against Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr 219 

E. Major Finding: Political Abuse of IntelUgence Information.- 225 

Subfindings : 

(a) Political Intelligence for the White House 226 

(b) Dissemination of Incidental Political or Personal 

Information 232 

(c) Volunteering Information to the White House 

and Targeting Critics and Political Figures.. 237 

(d) Influencing Social Policy and Political Action.. 240 


III. FINDINGS— Continued: "Page 

F. Major Finding: Inadequate Controls on Dissemination and 

Retention 253 

Subfindings : 

(a) Volunteering Irrelevant Information and re- 

sponding Unquestioningly to Requests 254 

(b) Excessive Dissemination 259 

(c) Federal Employee Security Program 261 

(d) FBI Retention of Sensitive, Derogatory, and 

Illegally Obtained Information 262 

G. Major Finding: Deficiencies in Control and Accountability.- 265 

Subfindings : 

(a) Presidential Failure to Limit and Control 

Intelligence Activities 267 

(b) Attorneys General Failure to Limit and Con- 

trol FBI Intelligence Activities 270 

(c) Encouraging Political Intelligence 274 

(d) Executive Failures to Inquire 275 

(e) Congressional Failure to Oversee Intelligence 

Activity and Exert Legislative Control 277 

(f) Intelligence Agencies Act with Insufficient 

Authorization 281 

(g) Termination of Abusive Operations 284 


A. Conclusions 289 

B. Principles Applied in Framing Recommendations and the 

Scope of Recommendations 292 

C. Recommendations 296 

1. Intelligence Agencies Are Subject to the Rule of Law 

(Recommendations 1-3) 296 

2. United States Foreign and Military Agencies Should 

Be Precluded From Domestic Security Activities 
(Recommendations 4-27) 297 

a. Central Intelligence Agency (Recommenda- 

tions 4-13) 297 

b. National Security Agency (Recommendations 

14-19) 308 

c. Military Service and Defense Department 

Investigative Agencies (Recommendations 
20-26) 310 

3. Non-Intelligence Agencies Should Be Barred From 

Domestic Security Activity (Recommendations 
27-37) 313 

a. Internal Revenue Service (Recommendations 

27-35) 313 

b. Post Office (U.S. Postal Service) (Recommen- 

dations 36-37) 315 

4. Federal Domestic Security Activities Should Be 

Limited and Controlled to Prevent Abuses Without 
Hampering Criminal Investigations or Investiga- 
tions of Foreign Espionage (Recommendations 
38-69) 316 

a. Centralize Supervision, Investigative Re- 

sponsibility, and the Use of Covert Tech- 
niques (Recommendations 38-39) 316 

b. Prohibitions (Recommendations 40-41) 317 

c. Authorized Scope of Domestic Security In- 

vestigations (Recommendations 42-49) 318 

d. Authorized Investigative Techniques (Rec- 

ommendations 50-63) 324 

e. Maintenance and Dissemination of Informa- 

tion (Recommendations 64-68) 330 

f. Attorney General Oversight of the FBI, 

Including Termination of Investigations and 
Covert Techniques (Recommendation 69) __ 332 



C. Recommendations — Continued 

5. The Responsibility and Authority of the Attorney 

General for Oversight for Federal Domestic Security 
Activities must be clarified and General Counsel and 
Inspectors General of Intelligence Agencies 
Strengthened (Recommendations 70-86) 332 

a. Attorney General Responsibility and Rela- 

ship With Other Intelligence Agencies 
(Recommendations 70-74) 333 

b. General Counsel and Inspectors General of 

Intelligence Agencies (Recommendations 
75-81) 333 

c. Office of Professional Responsibility (Recom- 

mendation 82) 335 

d. Director of the FBI and Assistant Directors 

of the FBI (Recommendations 83-85) 335 

6. Administrative Rulemaking and Increased Disclosure 

Should Be Required (Recommendations 
86-89) 336 

a. Administrative Rulemaking (Recommenda- 

tions 86-88) 336 

b. Disclosure (Recommendations 89-90) 336 

7. Civil Remedies Should Be Expanded (Recommenda- 

tion 91) 336 

8. Criminal Penalties Should Be Enacted (Recom- 

mendation 92) 338 

9. The Smith Act and the Voorhis Act Should Either Be 

Repealed or Amended (Recommendation 93) 339 

10. The Espionage Statute Should Be Modernized 

(Recommendation 94) 339 

11. Broaden Access to Intelligence Agency Files Should 

Be Provided to GAO, as an Investigative Arm of 

the Congress (Recommendation 95) 339 

12. Congressional Oversight Should Be Intensified 

(Recommendation 96) 339 

13. Definitions 339 

Appendix A: Senate Resolution 21 343 

Appendix B: Previously Issued Hearings and Reports of Senate Select 

Committee 355 

Appendix C: Staff Acknowledgments 357 

Additional Views : 

Philip A. Hart 359 

Robert Morgan 363 

Introduction to Separate Views of Senators John G. Tower, Howard 

H. Baker, Jr., and Barry Goldwater 367 

John G. Tower 369 

Howard H. Baker, Jr 373 

Barry Goldwater 389 

Charles McC. Mathias, Jr 395 


The resolution creating this Committee placed greatest emphasis 
on whether intelligence activities threaten the "rights of American 
citizens." ^ 

The critical question before the Committee was to determine how 
the fundamental liberties of the people can be maintained in the 
course of the Government's effort to protect their security. The deli- 
cate balance between these basic goals of our system of government is 
often difficult to strike, but it can, and must, be achieved. We reject 
the view that the traditional American principles of justice and fair 
play have no place in our struggle against the enemies of freedom. 
Moreover, our investigation has established that the targets of intelli- 
gence activity have ranged far beyond persons who could properly 
be characterized as enemies of freedom and have extended to a wide 
array of citizens engaging in lawful activity. 

Americans have rightfully been concerned since before World 
War II about the dangers of hostile foreign agents likely to commit 
acts of espionage. Similarly, the violent acts of political terrorists can 
seriously endanger the rights of Americans. Carefully focused intelli- 
gence investigations can help prevent such acts. 

But too often intelligence has lost this focus and domestic intelli- 
gence activities have invaded individual privacy and violated the rights 
of lawful assembly and political expression. Unless new and tighter 
controls are established by legislation, domestic intelligence activities 
threaten to undermine our democratic society and fundamentally alter 
its nature. 

We have examined three types of "intelligence" activities affecting 
the rights of American citizens. The first is intelligence collection — • 
such as infiltrating groups with informants, wiretapping, or opening 
letters. The second is dissemination of material which has been col- 
lected. The third is covert action designed to disrupt and discredit 
the activities of groups and individuals deemed a threat to the social 
order. These three types of "intelligence" activity are closely related 
in the practical world. Information which is disseminated by the in- 
telligence community^ or used in disruptive programs has usually 
been obtained through surveillance. Nevertheless, a division between 
collection, dissemination and covert action is analytically useful both 
in understanding why excesses have occurred in the past and in de- 
vising remedies to prevent those excesses from recurring. 

^S. Res. 21. sec. 2(12). The Senate specifically charged this Committee with 
Investigating "the conduct of domestic intelligence or counterintelligence op- 
erations against United States citizens." (Sec. 2(2)) The resolution added 
several examples of specific charges of possible "illegal, improper or unethical" 
governmental intelligence activities as matters to be fully investigated (Sec. (2) 
(1)— CIA domestic activities ; Sec. (2) (.S)— Huston Plan : Sec. (2) (10)— .surrep- 
titous entries, electronic surveillance, mail opening.) 

^ Just as the term "intelligence activity" activities that go far 
beyond the collection and analysis of information, the term "intelligence com- 
munity" includes persons ranging from the President to the lowest field opera- 
tives of the intelligence agencies. 


68-786 O - 76 - 2 

A. Intelligence Activity: A Neio Forrrh of G^av elemental Power to Im- 
pair Citizens' Rights 

A tension between order and liberty is inevitable in any society. A 
Government must protect its citizens from those bent on engaging m 
violence and criminal behavior, or in espionage and other hos- 
tile foreign intelligence activity. Many of the intelligence prograrns 
reviewed in this report were established for those purposes. Intelli- 
gence work has, at times, successfully prevented dangerous and abhor- 
rent acts, such as bombings and foreign spying, and aided in the 
prosecution of those responsible for such acts. 

But, intelligence activity in the past decades has, all too often, 
exceeded the restraints on the exercise of governmental power which 
are imposed by our country's Constitution, laws, and traditions. 

Excesses in the name of protecting security are not a recent develop- 
ment in our nation's history. In 1798, for example, shortly after the 
Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, the Alien and Sedition 
Acts were passed. These Acts, passed in response to fear of pro- 
French "subversion", made it a crime to criticize the Government.^ 
During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln suspended the 
writ of habeas corpus. Hundreds of American citizens were prose- 
cuted for anti-war statements during World War I, and thousands of 
"radical" aliens were seized for deportation during the 1920 Palmer 
Raids. During the Second World War, over the opposition of J. Edgar 
Hoover and military intelligence,* 120,000 Japanese- Americans were 
apprehended and incarcerated in detention camps. 

Those actions, however, were fundamentally different from the 
intelligence activities examined by this Committee. They were gener- 
ally executed overtly under the authority of a statute or a public 
executive order. The victims knew what was being done to them and 
could challenge the Government in the courts and other forums. Intel- 
ligence activity, on the other hand, is generally covert. It is concealed 
from its victims ^ and is seldom described in statutes or explicit execu- 

^ The Alien Act provided for the deportation of all aliens judged "dangerous 
to the peace and safety" of the nation. (1 Stat. 570, June 25, 1798) The Sedi- 
tion Act made it a federal crime to publish "false, scandalous and malicious 
writing" against the United States government, the Congress, or the President 
with the intent to "excite against them" the "hatred of the good people of the 
United States" or to "encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign 
nation against the United States." (1 Stat. 596, July 14, 1798) There were at 
least 25 arrests, 15 indictments, and 10 convictions under the Sedition Act. 
(See James M. Smith, Freedom's Fetters: The Alien and Sedition Laws and 
American Civil Liberties (Ithaca : Cornell U. Press, 1956).) 

* Francis Biddle, In Brief Authority (Garden City: Doubleday, 1962), p. 224; 
Roger Daniels. Concentration Camps USA: Japanese Americans and World 
War II (New York : Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1971), p. 66. 

° Many victims of intelligence activities have claimed in the past that they 
were being subjected to hostile action by their government. Prior to this investi- 
gation, most Americans would have dismissed these allegations. Senator Philip 
Hart aptly described this phenomenon in the course of the Committee's public 
hearings on domestic intelligence activities : 

"As I'm sure others have, I have been told for years by, among others, some 
of my own family, that this is exactly what the Bureau was doing all of the 
time, and in my great wisdom and high oflBce, I assured them that they were 
[wrong] — it just wasn't true, it couldn't happen. They wouldn't do it. What 
you have described is a series of illegal actions intended squarely to deny 

tive orders. The victim may never suspect that his misfortunes are the 
intended result of activities undertaken by his government, and accord- 
ingly may have no opportunity to challenge the actions taken against 

It is, of course, proper in many circumstances — such as developing 
a criminal prosecution — for the Government to gather information 
about a citizen and use it to achieve legitimate ends, some of which 
might be detrimental to the citizen. But in criminal prosecutions, the 
courts have struck a balance between protecting the rights of the 
accused citizen and protecting the society which suffers the conse- 
quences of crime. Essential to the balancing process are the rules of 
criminal law which circumscribe the techniques for gathering evi- 
dence,^ the kinds of evidence that may be collected, and the uses to 
which that evidence may be put. In addition, the criminal defendant 
is given an opportunity to discover and then challenge the legality of 
how the Government collected information about him and the use 
which the Government intends to make of that information. 

This Committee has examined a realm of governmental informa- 
tion collection which has not been governed by restraints comparable 
to those in criminal proceedings. We have examined the collection 
of intelligence about the political advocacy and actions and the private 
lives of American citizens. That information has been used covertly to 
discredit the ideas advocated and to "neutralize" the actions of their 
proponents. As Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone warned in 1924, 
when he sought to keep federal agencies from investigating "political 
or other opinions" as opposed to "conduct . . . forbidden by the laws" : 

When a police system passes beyond these limits, it is dan- 
gerous to the proper administration of justice and to human 
liberty, which it should be our first concern to cherish. 

. . . There is always a possibility that a secret police may 
become a menace to free government and free institutions be- 
cause it carries with it the possibility of abuses of power 
which are not always quickly apprehended or understood.^ 

Our investigation has confirmed that warning. We have seen seg- 
ments of our Government, in their attitudes and action, adopt tactics 
unworthy of a democracy, and occasionally reminiscent of the tactics 
of totalitarian regimes. We have seen a consistent pattern in which 
programs initiated with limited goals, such as preventing criminal 

First Amendment rights to some Americans. That is what my children have 
told me was going on. Now I did not believe it. 

"The trick now, as I see it, Mr. Chairman, is for this committee to be able 
to figure out how to persuade the people of this country that indeed it did 
go on. And how shall we insure that it will never happen again? But it will 
happen repeatedly unless we can bring ourselves to understand and accept 
that it did go on." Senator Philip Hart, 11/18/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 41. 

'As the Supreme Court noted in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, ^^83. 486 
(1966), even before the Court required law oflScers to advise criminal suspects 
of their constitutional rights before custodial interrogation, the FBI had "an 
exemplary record" in this area — a practice which the Court said should be 
"emulated by state and local law enforcement agencies." This commendable FBI 
tradition in the general field of law enforcement presents a sharp contrast to the 
widespread disregard of individual rights in FBI domestic intelligence opera- 
tions examined in the balance of this Report. 

^ New York Times, 5/13/24. 


violence or identifying foreign spies, were expanded to what wit- 
nesses characterized as "vacuum cleaners'',^ sweeping in information 
about lawful activities of American citizens. 

The tendency of intelligence activities to expand beyond their 
initial scope is a theme which runs through every aspect of our investi- 
gative findings. Intelligence collection programs naturally generate 
ever-increasing demands for new data. And once intelligence has been 
collected, there are strong pressures to use it against the target. 

The pattern of intelligence agencies expanding the scope of their 
activities was well described by one witness, who in 1970 had coordi- 
nated an effort by most of the intelligence community to obtain 
authority to undertake more illegal domestic activity: 

The risk was that you would get people who would be sus- 
ceptible to political considerations as opposed to national 
security considerations, or would construe political considera- 
tions to be national security considerations, to move from 
the kid with a bomb to the kid with a picket sign, and from 
the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the bumper 
sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going 
down the line.^ 

In 1940, Attorney General Eobert Jackson saw the same risk. He 
recognized that using broad labels like "national security" or "sub- 
version" to invoke the vast power of the government is dangerous 
because there are "no definite standards to determine what constitutes 
a 'subversive activity', such as we have for murder or larceny." Jack- 
son added: 

Activities which seem benevolent or helpful to wage earners, 
persons on relief, or those who are disadvantaged in the strug- 
gle for existence may be regarded as 'subversive' by those 
whose property interests might be burdened thereby. Those 
who are in office are apt to regard as 'subversive' the activi- 
ties of any of those who would bring a'bout a change of ad- 
ministration. Some of our soundest constitutional doctrines 
were once punished as subversive. We must not forget that it 
was not so long ago that both the term 'Republican' and the 
term 'Democrat' were epithets with sinister meaning to de- 
note persons of radical tendencies that were 'subversive' of 
the order of things then dominant.^" 

This wise warning was not heeded in the conduct of intelligence 
activity, where the "eternal vigilance" which is the "price of liberty" 
has been forgotten. 

B. The Questions 

We have directed our investigation toward answering the follow- 
ing questions : 

Which governmental agencies have engaged in domestic spying? 

How many citizens have been targets of Governmental intelligence 
activity ? 

^ Mary Jo Cook testimony, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. Ill ; James B. Adams 
testimony, 12/2/75. Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 135. 

* Tom Charles Huston testimony, 9/23/75, Hearings, Vol. 2, p. 45. 

10 "The Federal Prosecutor", Journal of the American Judicature Society 
(June, 1940), p. 18. 

What standards have governed the opening of intelligence investiga- 
tions and when have intelligence investigations been terminated? 

Where have the targets fit on the spectrum between those who com- 
mit violent criminal acts and those who seek only to dissent peacefully 
from Government policy ? 

To what extent has the information collected included intimate 
details of the targets' personal lives or their political views, and has 
such information been disseminated and used to injure individuals? 

What actions beyond surveillance have intelligence agencies taken, 
such as attempting to disrupt, discredit, or destroy persons or groups 
who have been the targets of surveillance ? 

Have intelligence agencies been used to serve the political aims of 
Presidents, other high officials, or the agencies themselves ? 

How have the agencies responded either to proper orders or to exces- 
sive pressures from their superiors ? To what extent have intelligence 
agencies disclosed, or concealed them from, outside bodies charged 
with overseeing them ? 

Have intelligence agencies acted outside the law? What has been 
the attitude of the intelligence community toward the rule of law ? 

To what extent has the Executive branch and the Congress con- 
trolled intelligence agencies and held them accountable ? 

Generally, how well has the Federal system of checks and balances 
between the branches worked to control intelligence activity? 

C. Summary of the- Main Problems 

The answer to each of these questions is disturbing. Too many people 
have been spied upon by too many Government agencies and to much 
information has beeen collected. The Government has often undertaken 
the secret surveillance of citizens on the basis of their political beliefs, 
even when those beliefs posed no threat of violence or illegal acts on 
behalf of a hostile foreign power. The Government, operating pri- 
marily through secret informants, but also using other intrusive 
techniques such as wiretaps, microphone "bugs", surreptitious mail 
opening, and break-ins, has swept in vast amounts of information 
about the personal lives, views, and associations of American citizens. 
Investigations of groups deemed potentially dangerous — and even 
of groups suspected of associating with potentially dangerous orga- 
nizations—have continued for decades, despite the fact that those 
groups did not engage in unlawful activity. Groups and individuals 
have been harassed and disrupted because of their political views and 
their lifestyles. Investigations have been based upon vague stand- 
ards whose breadth made excessive collection inevitable. Unsavory and 
vicious tactics have been employed— including anonymous attempts 
to break up marriages, disrupt meetings, ostracize persons from their 
professions, and provoke target groups into rivalries that might 
result in deaths. Intelligence agencies have served the political and 
personal objectives of presidents and other high officials. While the 
agencies often committed excesses in response to pressure from high 
officials in the Executive branch and Congress, they also occa- 
sionally initiated improper activities and then concealed them from 
officials whom they had a duty to inform. 

Governmental officials — including those whose principal duty is to 
enforce the law — have violated or ignored the law over long periods 
of time and have advocated and defended their right to break the law. 

The Constitutional system of checks and balances has not adequately 
controlled intelligence activities. Until recently the Executive branch 
has neither delineated the scope of permissible activities nor estab- 
lished procedures for supervising intelligence agencies. Congress has 
failed to exercise sufficient oversight, seldom questioning the use to 
which its apropriations were being put. Most domestic intelligence 
issues have not reached the courts, and in those cases when they have 
reached the courts, the judiciary has been reluctant to grapple with 

Each of these points is briefly illustrated below, and covered in sub- 
stantially greater detail in the following sections of the report. 

1. The Number of People Affected hy Domestic Intelligerwe 

United States intelligence agencies have investigated a vast num- 
ber of American citizens and domestic organizations. FBI headquar- 
ters alone has developed over 500,000 domestic intelligence files," 
and these have been augmented by additional files at FBI Field Offices. 
The FBI opened 65,000 of these domestic intelligence files in 1972 
alone.^2 In fact, substantially more individuals and groups are subject 
to intelligence scrutiny than the number of files would appear to 
indicate, since typically, each domestic intelligence file contains in- 
formation on more than one individual or group, and this information 
is readily retrievable through the FBI General Name Index. 

The number of Americans and domestic groups caught in the domes- 
tic intelligence net is further illustrated by the following statistics : 

— Nearly a quarter of a million firet class letters were 
opened and photographed in the United States by the CIA 
between 1953-1973, producing a CIA computerized index of 
nearly one and one-half million names.^^ 

— At least 130,000 first class letters were opened and photo- 
graphed by the FBI between 1940-1966 in eight U.S. cities.^^ 

— Some 300,000 individuals were indexed in a CIA com- 
puter system and separate files were created on approximately 
7,200 Americans and over 100 domestic groups during the 
course of CIA's Operation CHAOS (1967-1973).^^ 

— ]\iillions of private telegrams sent from, to, or through 
the United States were obtained by the National Security 
Agency from 1947 to 1975 under a secret arrangement with 
three United States telegraph companies.^*' 

— An estimated 100,000 Americans were the subjects of 
United States Army intelligence files created between the 
mid-1960's and 1971.^^ 

— Intelligence files on more than 11,000 individuals and 
groups were created by the Internal Kevenue Service between 

" Memorandum from the FBI to the Senate Select Committee, 10/6/75. 

" Memorandum from the FBI to the Senate Select Committee, 10/6/75. 

" James Angleton testimony, 9/17/75, p. 28. 

" See Mail Opening Report : Section IV, "FBI Mail Openings." 

^^ Chief, International Terrorist Group testimony. Commission on CIA Activi- 
ties Within the United States, 3/10/75. pp. 1485-1489. 

"' Statement by the Chairman, 11/6/75 ; re : SHAMROCK, Hearings, Vol. 5, 
pp. 57-60. 

" See Military Surveillance Report : Section II, "The Collection of Information 
a,bout the Political Activities of Private Citizens and Private Organizations." 

1969 and 1973 and tax investigations were started on the basis 
of political rather than tax criteria.^^ 

— At least 26,000 individuals were at one point catalogued 
on an FBI list of persons to be rounded up in the event of a 
"national emergency".^^ 

2. Too Much Information Is Collected For Too Long 
Intelligence agencies have collected vast amounts of information 
about the intimate details of citizens' lives and about their participa- 
tion in legal and peaceful political activities. The targets of intelli- 
gence activity have included political adherents of the right and the 
left, ranging from activitist to casual supporters. Investigations have 
been directed against proponents of racial causes and Avomen's rights, 
outspoken apostles of nonviolence and racial hannony ; establishment 
}X)]iticians; religious groups; and advocates of new life styles. The 
widespread targeting of citizens and domestic groups, and the exces- 
sive scope of the collection of information, is illustrated by the fol- 
lowing examples : 

(a) The "Women's Liberation Movement" was infiltrated by in- 
formants who collected material about the movement's policies, leaders, 
and individual members. One report included the name of every 
woman who attended meetings,^" and another stated that each woman 
at a meeting had described "how she felt oppressed, sexually or other- 
wise".^^ Another report concluded that the movement's purpose was 
to "free women from the humdrum existence of being only a wife and 
mother", but still recommended that the intelligence investigation 
should be continued.^^ 

(b) A prominent civil rights leader and advisor to Dr. Martin 
Luther King, Jr., was investigated on the suspicion that he might be 
a Communist "sympathizer". The FBI field office concluded he was 
not.2^ Bureau headquarters directed that the investigation continue — 
using a theory of "guilty until proven innocent :" 

The Bureau does not agree with the expressed belief of the 

field office that ^* is not sympathetic to the 

Party cause. While there may not be any evidence that 

is a Communist neither is there any substantial 

evidence that he is anti-Communist.^^ 

(c) FBI sources reported on the formation of the Conservative 
American Christian Action Council in 1971.^^ In the 1950's, the Bu- 
reau collected information about the John Birch Society and passed 

^^ See IRS Report : Section II, "Selective Enforcement for Nontax Purposes." 

" Memorandum from A. H. Belmont to L. V. Boardman, 12/8/54. Many of the 
memoranda cited in this report were actually written by FBI personnel other 
than those whose names were indicated at the foot of the document as the author. 
Citation in this report of specific memoranda by using the names of FBI personnel 
which so appear is for documentation purposes only and is not intended to presume 
authorship or even knowledge in all cases. 

^ Memorandum from Kansas City Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/20/70. 
(Hearings. Vol. 6, Exhibit 54-3) 

^ Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/28/69, 
p. 2. (Hearings, Vol. 6, Exhibit 54-1) 

^ Memorandum from Baltimore Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/11/70, 
p. 2. 

^ Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/14/64. 

"* Name deleted by Committee to protect privacy. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office 4/24/64, re 
CPUSA, Negro question. 

^' James Adams testimony, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 137. 


it to the White House because of the Society's "scurillous attack" on 
President Eisenhower and other high Government olhcials.^' 

(d) Some investigations of tiie lawiul activities of peaceful groups 
have continued for decades. For example, the NAACP was investi- 
gated to determine whether it "had comiections with" the Communist 
Party. The investigation lasted for over twenty-five years, although 
nothing was found to rebut a report during the first year of the investi- 
gation that the NAACP had a "strong tendency" to "steer clear of 
Communist activities." ^® Similarly, the FBI has admitted that the 
Socialist Workers Party has committed no criminal acts. Yet the 
Bureau has investigated the Socialist Workers Party for more than 
three decades on the basis of its revolutionary rhetoric--which the 
FBI concedes falls short of incitement to violence — and its claimed 
international links. The Bureau is currently using its informants to 
collect information about SWP members' political views, including 
those on "U.S. involvement in Angola," "food prices," "racial mat- 
ters," the "Vietnam War," and about any of their efforts to support 
non-SWP candidates for political office.'^ 

(e) National political leaders fell within the broad reach of in- 
telligence investigations. For example, Army Intelligence maintained 
files on Senator Adlai Stevenson and Congressman Abner Mikva 
because of their participation in peaceful political meetings under sur- 
veillance by Army agents.^" A letter to Kichard Nixon, while he was a^ 
candidate for President in 1968, was intercepted under CIA's mail 
opening program.^^ In the 1960's President Johnson asked the FBI to 
compare various Senators' statements on Vietnam with the Commu- 
nist Party line ^^ and to conduct name checks on leading antiwar Sena- 

(f) As part of their effort to collect information which "related 
even remotely" to people or groups "active" in communities which had 
"the potential" for civil disorder. Army intelligence agencies took 
such steps as: sending agents to a Halloween party for elementary 
school children in Washington, D.C., because they suspected a local 
"dissident" might be present ; monitoring protests of welfare mothers' 
organizations in Milwaukee ; infiltrating a coalition of church youth 
groups in Colorado; and sending agents to a priests' conference in 
Washington, D.C., held to discuss birth control measures.^^ 

(g) In the late 1960's and eaHy 1970's. student groups were sub- 
jected to intense scrutinv. In 1970 the FBI ordered invest! <Tations of 
everv member of the Students for a Democratic Societv and of "every 
Black Student ITnion and similar group regardless of their past or 

^Memorandum from F. J. Baumsardner to William C. Sullivan. 5/29/63. 

^ Memorandum from Oklahoma City Field Offipe to FBT Headquarters. 9/19/41. 
See Development of FBI Domestic Intelligence Investigations : Section IV, "FBI 
Target Lists." 

=® Chief Robert Shackleford testimony, 2/6/76. p. 91. 

^"Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Ri.<^hts. Report. 1973, p. 57. 

^ Senate Select Committee Staff summary of HTLINGUAL File Review, 

^ FBI Summary Memorandum. 1/31/75, re : Coverage of T.V. Presentation. 

^ Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Marvin Watson, 7/15/66. 

** See Military Report : Sec. II, "The Collection of Information About the Po- 
litical Activities of Private Citizens and Private Organizations." 

present involvement in disorders." ^^ Files were opened on thousands of 
young men and women so that, as the former head of FBI intelligence 
explained, the information could be used if they ever applied for a 
government job.^^ 

In the 196U's Bureau agents were instructed to mcrease their efforts 
to discredit "New Left" student demonstrators by tactics including 
publishing photographs ("naturally the most obnoxious picture 
should be used"),^' using "misinformation" to falsely notify members 
events had been cancelled,^^ and writing "tell-tale" letters to students' 

(h) The FBI Intelligence Division commonly investigated any in- 
dication that "subversive" groups already under investigation were 
seeking to influence or control other groups.*" One example of the ex- 
treme breadth of this "infiltration" theory was an FBI instruction in- 
the mid-1960's to all Field Offices to investigate every "free university" 
because some of them had come under "subversive influence." *^ 

(i) Each administration from Franklin D. Roosevelt's to Richard 
Nixon's permitted, and sometimes encouraged, government agencies to 
handle essentially political intelligence. For example : 

— President Roosevelt asked the FBI to put in its files the names of 
citizens sending telegrams to the White House opposing his "national 
defense" policy and supporting Col. Charles Lindbergh.*^ 

— President Truman received inside information on a former 
Roosevelt aide's efforts to influence his appointments,*^ labor union 
negotiating plans,** and the publishing plans of journalists.*^ 

— President Eisenhower received reports on purely political and 
social contacts with foreign officials by Bernard Baruch,*^ Mrs. Eleanor 
Roosevelt,*^ and Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.*^'' 

— The Kennedy Administration had the FBI wiretap a Congres- 
sional staff member,*^ three executive officials,*^ a lobbyist,^" and a 
Washington law firm.^^ Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy received 
the fruits of a FBI "tap" on Martin Luther King, Jr. ,^2 ^nd a "bug" 
on a Congressman both of which yielded information of a political 

^ Memorandum from FBI headquarters to all SAC's, 11/4/70. 
'' Charles Brennan testimony, 9/25/75, Hearings, vol. 2 p. 117. 
^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 7/5/68. 
^Abstracts of New Left Documents #161. 115, 43. Memorandum from Wash- 
ington Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/21/69. 
^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cleveland Field Office, 11/29/68. 
^° FBI Manual of Instructions, Sec. 87, B(2-f ). 

" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 7/23/69. 
*^ Memorandum from Stephen Early to J. Edgar Hoover, 5/21/40 ; 6/17/40. 
^^ Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to George Allen, 12/3/46. 
** Letter from .7. Edgar Hoover to Maj. Gen. Harry Vaughn, 2/15/47. 
^ Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to M. J. Connelly, 1/27/50. 
** Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Dillon Anderson, 11/7/55. 
" Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Robert Cutler, 2/13/58. 
"" Letters from J. Edgar Hoover to Robert Cutler, 4/21/53-4/27/53. 
^ Memorandum from .1. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General. 2/16/61. 
* Memorandtmi from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General. 2/14/61. 
"Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 2/16/61. 
^ Memorandum from ,1. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General 6/26/62. 
^ Memorandum from Charles Brennan to William Sullivan, 12/19/66. 
"Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 2/18/61. 


— President Johnson asked the FBI to conduct "name checks" of 
his critics and of members of the staff of his 1964 opponent, Senator 
Barry Goldwater.^* He also requested purely political intelligence on 
his critics in the Senate, and received extensive intelligence reports on 
political activity at the 1964 Democratic Convention from FBI elec- 
tronic surveillance.^^ 

— President Nixon authorized a program of wiretaps which pro- 
duced for the White House purely political or personal information 
unrelated to national security, including information about a Supreme 
Court justice.^^ 

3. Covert Action and the Use of IJIegal or Imjyroper Means 

(a) Covert Action. — Apart from uncovering excesses in the collec- 
tion of intelligence, our investigation has disclosed covert actions di- 
rected against Americans, and the use of illegal and improper surveil- 
lance techniques to gather information. For example : 

(i) The FBI's COINTELPRO— counterintelligence program— was 
designed to "disrupt" groups and "neutralize" individuals deemed to 
be threats to domestic security. The FBI resorted to counterintelli- 
gence tactics in part because its chief officials believed that the existing 
law could not control the activities of certain dissident groups, and 
that court decisions had tied the hands of the intelligence community. 
Whatever opinion one holds about the policies of the targeted groups, 
many of the tactics employed by the FBI were indisputably degrading 
to a free society. COINTELPRO tactics included : 

— Anonymously attacking the political beliefs of targets in order 
to induce their employers to fire them ; 

— Anonymously mailing letters to the spouses of intelligence targets 
for the purpose of destroying their marriages ; ^^ 

— Obtaining from IRS the tax returns of a target and then attempt- 
ing to provoke an IRS investigation for the express purpose of de- 
terring a protest leader from attending the Democratic National 
Convention ; ^^ 

— Falsely and anonymously labeling as Government informants 
members of groups known to be violent, thereby exposing the falsely 
labelled member to expulsion or physicial attack ; ^^ 

— Pursuant to instructions to use "misinformation" to disrupt 
demonstrations, employing such means as broadcasting fake orders 
on the same citizens band radio frequency used by demonstration 
marshalls to attempt to control demonstrations.*^" and duplicating and 
falsely filling out forms soliciting housing for persons coming to a 
demonstration, thereby causing "long and useless journeys to locate 
these addresses" ; ^^ 

^* Memorandum f roni J. Edgar Hoover to Bill Moyers. 10/27/64. 

^Memorandum from C. D. DeLoach to .John Mohr, 8/29/64. 

^ Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to H.R. Haldeman. 6/25/70. 

" Memorandum from FBI Headquarter.?, to San Francisco Field Office, 

^Memorandum from [Midwest City] Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 
8/1/68 ; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to [Midwest City] Field Office, 

°^ Memorandum from Columbia Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/4/70, re : 

^ Memorandum from Charles Brennan to William Sullivan. 8/15/68. 

*^ Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/9/68. 


— Sending an anonymous letter to the leader of a Chicago street 
gang (described as "violence-prone") stating that the Black Panthers 
were supposed to have "a hit out for you". The letter was suggested 
because it "may intensify . . . animosity" and cause the street gang 
leader to "take retaliatory action".®^ 

(ii) From "late 1963" until his death in 1968, Martin Luther King, 
Jr., Avas the target of an intensive campaign by the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation to "neutralize" him as an effective civil rights leader. 
In the words of the man in charge of the FBI's "war" against Dr. 
King, "No holds were barred." ^^ 

The FBI gathered information about Dr. King's plans and activi- 
ties through an extensive surveillance program, employing nearly 
every intelligence-gathering technique at the Bureau's disposal in 
order to obtain information about the "private activities of Dr. King 
and his advisors" to use to "completely discredit" them.^^ 

The program to destroy Dr. King as the leader of the civil rights 
movement included efforts to discredit him with Executive branch 
officials, Congressional leaders, foreign heads of state, American am- 
bassadors, churches, universities, and the press.®^ 

The FBI mailed Dr. King a tape recording made from microphones 
hidden in his hotel rooms which one agent testified was an attempt 
to destroy Dr. King's marriage.^® The tape recording was accompanied 
by a note which Dr. King and his advisors interpreted as threatening 
to release the tape recording unless Dr. King committed suicide.^^ 

The extraordinary nature of the campaign to discredit Dr. King is 
evident from two documents : 

— At the August 1963 March on Washington, Dr. King told the 
country of his "dream" that : 

all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and 
Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands 
and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free 
at last, free at last, thank God Almightly, I'm free at last." 

The Bureau's Domestic Intelligence Division concluded that this 
"demagogic speech" established Dr. King as the "most dangerous 
and effective Negro leader in the country." ®^ Shortly afterwards, and 
within days after Dr. King was named "Man of the Year" by Time 
magazine, the FBI decided to "take him off his pedestal," reduce him 
completely in influence," and select and promote its own candidate 
to "assume the role of the leadership of the Negro people." ^^ 

— In early 1968, Bureau headquarters explained to the field that Dr. 
King must be destroyed because he was seen as a potential "messiah" 
who could "unify and electrify" the "black nationalist movement". 
Indeed, to the FBI he was a potential threat because he might "aban- 

'- Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago Field Office, 1/30/69 re: 
COTNTELPRO, Black Nationalist-Hate Groups. 

•"William C. Sullivan testimony, 11/1/75, p. 49. 

** Memorandum from Baum.cardner to Sullivan, 2/4/64. 

'^Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/16/68; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago Field Office, 1/30/69, re: 
COINTELPRO. Black Nationalist-Hate Groups. 

•^William C. Sullivan, 11/1/7.5. pp. 104-105. 

" Andrew Young testimony, 2/19/76. p. 8. 

** Memorandum from Sullivan to Belmont. 8/30/63. 

** Memorandum from Sullivan to Belmont, 1/8/64. 


don his supposed 'obedience' to white liberal doctrines (non-viol- 
ence)." ''° In short, a non- violent man was to be secretly attacked and 
destroyed as insurance against his abandoning non-violence. 

(h) Illegal or Iiwpro'per Means. — The surveillance which we in- 
vestigated was not only vastly excessive in breadth and a basis for 
degrading counterintelligence actions, but was also often conducted 
by illegal or improper means. For example : 

(1) For approximately 20 years the CIA carried out a pro- 
gram of indiscriminately opening citizens' first class mail. 
The Bureau also had a mail opening program, but cancelled it 
in 1966. The Bureau continued, however, to receive the 
illegal fruits of CIA's program. In 1970, the heads of both 
agencies signed a document for President Nixon, which cor- 
rectly stated that mail opening was illegal, falsely stated that 
it had been discontinued, and proposed that the illegal open- 
ing of mail should be resumed because it would provide use- 
ful results. The President approved the program, but with- 
drew his approval five days later. The illegal opening con- 
tinued nonetheless. Throughout this period CIA officials knew 
that mail opening was illegal, but expressed concern about the 
"flap potential" of exposure, not about the illegality of their 

(2) From 1947 imtil May 1975, NSA received from inter- 
national cable companies millions of cables which had been 
sent by American citizens in the reasonable expectation that 
they would be kept private.''^ 

(3) Since the early 19B0's, intelligence agencies have 
frequently wiretapped and bugged American citizens with- 
out the benefit of judicial warrant. Recent court decisions 
have curtailed the use of these techniques against domestic 
targets. But past subjects of these surveillances have included 
a United States Congressman, a Congressional staff member, 
journalists and newsmen, and numerous individuals and 
groups who engaged in no criminal activity and who posed 
no genuine threat to the national security, such as two Wliite 
House domestic affairs advisers and an anti-Vietnam War 
protest group. While the prior written approval of the Attor- 
ney General has been required for all warrantless wiretaps 
since 1940, the record is replete with instances where this 
requirement was ignored and the Attorney General gave only 
after-the-fact authorization. 

Until 1965, microphone surveillance by intelligence agen- 
cies was wholly unregiilated in certain classes of cases. Within 
weeks after a 1954 Supreme Court decision denouncing the 
FBI's installation of a microphone in a defendant's bedroom, 
the Attorney General informed the Bureau that he did not 
believe the decision applied to national security cases and 

"' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 3/4/68. 
''^ See Mail Opening Report : Section II, "Legal Considerations and the 'Flap' 
■" See NSA Report : Section I, "Introduction and Summary." 


permitted the FBI to continue to install microphones sub- 
ject only to its own "intelligent restrainf'J^ 

(4) In several cases, purely political information (such 
as the reaction of Congress to an Administration's legislative 
proposal) and purely personal information (such as cov- 
erage of the extra-marital social activities of a high-level Ex- 
ecutive official under surveillance) was obtained from elec- 
tronic surveillance and disseminated to the highest levels of 
the federal government.^* 

(5) Warrantless break-ins have been conducted by intelli- 
gence agencies since World War II. During the 1960's alone, 
the FBI and CIA conducted hundreds of break-ins, many 
against American citizens and domestic organizations. In 
some cases, these break-ins were to install microphones; in 
other cases, they were to steal such items as membership lists 
from organizations considered "subversive" by the Bureau.'^^ 

(6) The most pervasive surveillance technique has been 
the informant. In a random sample of domestic intelligence 
cases, 83% involved informants and 5% involved electronic 
surveillance.'^*' Informants have been used against peaceful, 
law-abiding groups; they have collected information about 
personal and political views and activities.^^ To maintain 
their credentials in violence-prone groups, informants have 
involved themselves in violent activity. This phenomenon is 
well illustrated by an informant in the Klan. He was present 
at the murder of a civil rights worker in Mississippi and sub- 
sequently helped to solve the crime and convict the perpetra- 
tors. Earlier, however, while performing duties paid for by 
the Government, he had previously "beaten people severely, 
had boarded buses and kicked people, had [gone] into res- 
taurants and beaten them [blacks] with blackjacks, chains, 
pistols." "^ Although the FBI requires agents to instruct in- 
formants that they cannot be involved in violence, it was 
understood that in the Klan, "he couldn't be an angel and 
be a good informant." ^^ 

Jf.. Ignoring the Law 
Officials of the intelligence agencies occasionally recognized that 
certain activities were illegal, but expressed concern only for "flap 
potential." Even more disturbing was the frequent testimony that the 
law, and the Constitution were simplv ignored. For example, the 
author of the so-called Huston plan testified : 

Question. Was there any person who stated that the activity 
recommended, which you have previously identified as being 

''' Memorandum from Attorney General Brownell to J. Edgar Hoover, 5/20/54. 

'* See finding on Political Abuse. To protect the privacy of the targeted 
individual, fhe Committee has omitted the citation to the memorandum concern- 
ing the example of purelv personal information. 

" Memorandum from W. C. Sullivan to C. D. DeT»aeh, 7/19/66, p. 2. 

'" General Accounting Office Report on Domestic Intelligence Operations of the 
FBT. 9/75. 

■" Mary .To Cook testimony. 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6. p. 111. 

" Gary Rowe deposition, 10/17/75, p. 9. 

" Special Agent No. 3 deposition, 11/21/75, p. 12. 


illegal opening of the mail and breaking and entry or bur- 
glary — was there any single person who stated that such ac- 
tivity should not be done because it was unconstitutional? 

Answer. No. 

Question. Was there any single person who said such activ- 
ity should not be done because it was illegal ? 

Answer. No.^° 

Similarly, the man who for ten years headed FBI's Intelligence 
Division testif ed that : 

. . . never once did I hear anybody, including myself, raise the 
question : "Is this course of action which we have agreed upon 
lawful, is it legal, is it ethical or moral." We never gave any 
thought to this line of reasoning, because we were just natu- 
rally pragmatic.^^ 

Although the statutory law and the Constitution were often not 
"[given] a thought".^^ there was a general attitude that intelligence 
needs were responsive to a higher law. Thus, as one witness testified 
in justifying the FBI's mail opening program : 

It was my assumption that what we were doing was justified 
by what we had to do . . . the greater good, the national 

5. Deficiencies in Accountability and Control 

The overwhelming number of excesses continuing over a prolonged 
period of time were due in large measure to the fact that the system 
of checks and balances — ^created in our Constitution to limit abuse of 
Governmental power — ^was seldom applied to the intelligence com- 
munity. Guidance and regulation from outside the intelligence agen- 
cies — where it has been imposed at all — has been vague. Presidents 
and other senior Executive officials, particularly the Attorneys Gen- 
eral, have virtually abdicated their Constitutional responsibility to 
oversee and set standards for intelligence activity. Senior government 
officials generally gave the agencies broad, general mandates or 
pressed for immediate results on pressing problems. In neither case 
did they provide guidance to prevent excesses and their broad 
mandates and pressures themselves often resulted in excessive or 
improper intelligence activity. 

Congress has often declined to exercise meaningful oversight, and 
on occasion has passed laws or made statements which were taken by 
intelligence agencies as supporting overly-broad investigations. 

*' Huston testimony, 9/23/75, Hf-arin?s. Vol. 2, p. 41. 

"^William Sullivan testimony, 11/1/75, pp. 92-93. 

**The quote is from a Bureau official who had supervised for the "Black 
Nationalist Hate Group" COINTEI.PRO. 

"Question. Did anybody at any time that you r^memher during the course of 
the programs discuss the Constitutionality or the legal authority, or anything 
else like that? 

"Ansiwer. No, we never gave it a thought. As far as T know, nobody engaged 
or ever had any idea that they were doing anything other than what was the 
policy of the Bureau which had been policy for a long time." (George Moore 
deposition, 11/3/75, p. 83.) 

^ Branigan, 10/9/75, p. 41. 


On the other hand, the record reveals instances when intelligence 
agencies have concealed improper activities from their superiors in 
the Executive branch and from the Congress, or have elected to dis- 
close only the less questionable aspects of their activities. 

There has been, in short, a clear and sustained failure by those 
responsible to control the intelligence community and to ensure its 
accountability. There has been an equally clear and sustained failure 
by intelligence agencies to fully inform the proper authorities of their 
activities and to comply with directives from those authorities. 

6. The Adverse Impact of Improper Intelligence Activity 

Many of the illegal or improper disruptive efforts directed against 
American citizens and domestic organizations succeeded in injuring 
their targets. Although it is sometimes difficult to prove that a target's 
misfortunes were caused by a comiter-intelligence program directed 
against him, the possibility that an arm of the United States Govern- 
ment intended to cause the harm and might have been responsible is 
itself abhorrent. 

The Committee has observed numerous examples of the impact of 
intelligence operations. Sometimes the harm was readily apparent — 
destruction of marriages, loss of friends or jobs. Sometimes the atti- 
tudes of the public and of Government officials responsible for formu- 
lating policy and resolving vital issues were influenced by distorted 
intelligence. But the most basic harm was to the values of privacy 
and freedom which our Constitution seeks to protect and which 
intelligence activity infringed on a broad scale. 

(a) General E-fforts to Discredit. — Several efforts against individuals 
and groups appear to have achieved their stated aims. For example : 

— A Bureau Field Office reported that the anonvmous letter it had 
sent to an activist's husband accusing his wife of infidelity "contributed 
very stronglv" to the subsequent breakup of the marriage.^* 

— ^ Another Field Office reported that a dra^t counsellor deliberately, 
and falsely, accused of being an FBI informant was "ostracized" by 
his friends and associates.^^ 

— Two instructors were reportedly put on probation after the Bu- 
reau sent an anonvmous letter to a university administrator about their 
funding of an anti-administration student newspaper.^^ 

— The Bureau evaluated its attempts to "put a stop" to a contribu- 
tion to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference as "quite 
successful." ^^ 

— An FBI document boasted that a "pretext" phone call to Stokeley 
Carmichael's mother telling her that members of the Black Panther 
Party intended to kill her son left her "shocked". The memorandum in- 
timated that the Bureau believed it had been responsible for Carmi- 
chael's fliofht to Africa the following day.^^ 

{h) Media Manipul<ition. — ^The FBI has attempted covertly to in- 
fluence the public's perception of persons and organizations by dis- 
seminatin.fT derogatory information to the press, either anonymously 
or through "friendly" news contacts. The impact of those articles is 

^ Memorandum from St. Louis Field Office to FBT Headquarters. 6/19/70. 
" Memorandum from San Dieeo Field Office to FBT Headquarters. 4/30/69. 
** Memorandum from Mobile Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/9/70. 
" Memorandum from Wick to DeLoach, 11/9/66. 
*® Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/9/68. 


generally difficult to measure, although in some cases there are fairly 
direct connections to injury to the target. The Bureau also attempted 
to influence media reporting which would have any impact on the pub- 
lic image of the FBI. Examples include : 

— Planting a series of derogatory articles about Martin Luther 
King, Jr., and the Poor People's Campaign.^^ 

For example, in anticipation of the 1968 "poor people's march on 
Washington, D.C.," Bureau Headquarters granted authority to 
furnish "cooperative news media sources" an article "designed to cur- 
tail success of Martin Luther King's fimd raising." ^ Another memo- 
randum illustrated how "photographs of demonstrators" could be used 
in discrediting the civil rights movement. Six photogi'aphs of partic- 
ipants in the poor people's campaign in Cleveland accompanied the 
memorandum with the following note attached: "These [photo- 
graphs] show the militant aggressive appearance of tlie participants 
and might be of interest to a cooperative news source." °^ Information 
on the Poor People's Campaign was provided by the FBI to friendly 
reporters on the condition that "the Bureau must not be revealed as 
the source." ^^ 

— Soliciting information from Field Offices "on a continuing basis" 
for "prompt . . . dissemination to the news media ... to discredit 
the New Left movement and its adherents." The Headquarters direc- 
tive requested, among other things, that : 

specific data should be furnished depicting the scurrilous and 
depraved nature of many of the characters, activities, habits 
and living conditions representative of New Left adherents. 

Field Offices were to be exhorted that : "Every avenue of possible em- 
barrassment must be vigorously and enthusiastically explored." ^^ 

—Ordering Field Offices to gather information which would dis- 
prove allegations bv the "liberal press, the bleeding hearts, and the 
forces on the left" that the Chicago police used undue force in dealing 
with demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic Convention.^^ 

— ^Taldng advantage of a close relationship with the Chairman of 
the Board — described in an FBI memorandum as "our good friend" — 
of a magazine with national circulation to influence articles which re- 
lated to the FBI. For example, through this relationship the Bureau : 
"squelched" an "unfavorable article against the Bureau" written by a 
free-lance writer about an FBI investigation ; "postponed publication" 
of an article on another FBI case; "forestalled publication" of an ar- 
ticle by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; and received information about 
proposed editing of King's articles.^^ 

(c) Distorting Data to Influence Government Policy aTuI Pub- 
lic Perceptions 
Accurate intelligence is a prerequisite to sound government policy. 
However, as the past head of the FBI's Domestic Intelligence Division 
reminded the Committee : 

^ See Kins: Report : Sections V and "VII. 

•* Memorandum from G. C. Moore to W. C. Sullivan, 10/26/68. 

*^ Memorandum from G. C. Moore to W. C. Sullivan, 5/17/68. 

®^ Memorandum from FBI Headouarters to Miami Field Office, 7/0/68. 

*' Memorandum from C. D. Brennan toW. C. Sullivan. 5/22/68. 

'"Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicaeo Field Office, 8/28/68. 

** Memorandum from W, H. Stapleton to DeLoach, 11/3/64. 


The facts by themselves are not too meaningful. They are 
something like stones cast into a heap.^^ 

On certain crucial subjects the domestic intelligence agencies reported 
the "facts" in ways that gave rise to misleading impressions. 

For example, the FBI's Domestic Intelligence Division initially dis- 
counted as an "obvious failure" the alleged attempts of Communists 
to influence the civil rights movement. °^ Without any significant 
change in the factual situation, the Bureau moved from the Division's 
conclusion to Director Hoover's public congressional testimony charac- 
terizing Communist influence on the civil rights movement as "vitally 
important." ^^^ 

FBI reporting on protests against the Vietnam War provides an- 
other example of the manner in which the information provided to 
decision-makers can be skewed. In acquiescence with a judgment al- 
ready ex])ressed by President Johnson, the Bureau's reports on dem- 
onstrations against the War in Vietnam emphasized Communist efforts 
to influence the anti-war movement and underplayed the fact that the 
vast majority of demonstrators were not Communist controlled.^^ 

{d) ^''Chilling'''' First AmendTnent Rights. — The First Amendment 
protects the Eights of American citizens to engage in free and open 
discussions, and to associate with persons of their choosing. Intel- 
ligence agencies have, on occasion, expressly attempted to interfere 
with those rights. For example, one internal FBI memorandum 
called for "more interviews" with New Left subjects "to enhance 
the paranoia endemic in these circles" and "get the point across there 
is an FBI agent behind every mailbox." ^°° 

INIore importantly, the government's surveillance activities in the 
aggregate — whether or not expressly intended to do so — tends, as 
the Committee concludes at p- 290 to deter the exercise of First 
Amended riglits bv American citizens who become aware of the gov- 
ernment's domestic intelligence prosfram. 

(e) Preventing the Free Exchange of Ideas. Speakers, teachers, 
writers, and publicatioiis themselves were targets of the FBI's counter- 
intelligence proarram. The FBI's efforts to interfere with the free ex- 
change of ideas included : 

— Anonymously attempting to prevent an alleged "Communist- 
front" group from lioldinof a forum on a midwest campus, and then 
investi.o-ating the judge who ordered that the meeting be allowed to 
proceed. ^°^ 

— IJsin.o: another "confidential source" in a foundation which con- 
tributed to a local college to apply pressure on the school to fire an 
activist professor. 

— Anonymously contacting a university official to urge him to "per- 
suade" two professors to stop fmidinor a student newspaper, in order 
to "eliminate what voice the New Left has" in the area. 

*'Snllivan. 11/1/75. p. 48. 

°^ Memorandum from Bnnmgardner to Sullivan. 8/26/63 p. 1. Hoover himself 
eonstmed the initial Division estimate to mean that Communist influence was 

08^ See Fniflins: on Politieal Abuse, p. 22.5. 

"^ Sop Findinc on Political Abuse, p. 225. 

'•^ "New T.eft Notes— Philadelphia." 9/16/70. Edition #1. 

^"^ :\remorandum fmm "netroit Field Office to FBI Hendnuarters 10/26/60; 
Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office 10/27, 28, 31/60; 
Memorandum from Baumgardner to Belmont, 10/26/60. 

-786 O - 76 - .T 


— Targeting the New Mexico Free University for teaching "con- 
frontation politics" and "draft counseling training"."^ 

7. Cost and Value 

Domestic intelligence is expensive. We have already indicated the 
cost of illegal and improper intelligence activities in tenns of the 
harm to victims, the injury to constitutional values, and the damage 
to the democratic process itself. The cost in dollars is also significant. 
For example, the FBI has budgeted for fiscal year 1976 over $7 
million for its domestic security informant program, more than twice 
the amount it spends on informants against organized crime.^°^ The 
aggregate budget for FBI domestic security intelligence and foreign 
counterintelligence is at least $80 million.^"* In the late 1960s and early 
1970s, when the Bureau was joined by the CIA, the military, and 
NSA in collecting information about the anti-war movement and 
black activists, the cost was substantially greater. 

Apart from the excesses described above, the usefulness of many 
domestic intelligence activities in serving the legitimate goal of pro- 
tecting society has been questionable. Properly directed intelligence 
investigations concentrating upon hostile foreign agents and violent 
terrorists can produce valuable results. The Committee has examined 
cases where the FBI uncovered "illegal" agents of a foreign power 
engaged in clandestine intelligence activities in \aolation of federal 
law. Information leading to the prevention of serious violence has 
been acquired by the FBI through its informant penetration of ter- 
rorist groups and through the inclusion in Bureau files of the names 
of persons actively involved with such groups.^"^ Nevertheless, the most 
sweeping domestic intelligence surveillance programs have produced 
surprisingly few useful returns in view of their extent. For example : 

^*^See COINTELPRO Report: Section III. "The GoaLs of COTNTELPRO : 
Preventing or disrupting the exercise of First Amendment Rights." 

^"^ The budget for FBI informant programs includes not only the payments to 
informants for their services and expenses, but also the expenses of FBI per- 
sonnel who supervise informants, their support costs, and administrative over- 
head. (Justice Department letter to Senate Select Committee, 3/2/76). 

^''* The Committee is withholding the portion of this figure spent on domestic 
security intelligence (informants and other investigations combined) to pre- 
vent hostile foreign intelligence services from deducing the amount spent on 
coiinterespionage. The $80 million figure does not include all costs of separate 
FBI activities which may be drawn upon for domestic security intelligence pur- 
poses. Among these are the Identification Division (maintaining fingerprint 
records), the Files and Communications Division (managing the storage and 
retrieval of investigative and intelligence files), and the FBI Laboratory. 

^"^ Examples of valuable informant reports include the following : one 
informant reported a plan to ambush police officers and the location of a cache 
of weapons and dynamite ; another informant reported plans to transport 
illegally obtained weapons to "Washington, D.C. ; two informants at one meeting 
discovered plans to dynamite two city blocks. All of these plans were frustrated 
by further investigation and protective measures or arrest. (FBI memorandum 
to Select Committee, 12/10/75 ; Senate Select Committee Staff memorandum : 
Intelligence Cases in Which the FBI Prevented Violence, undated.) 

One example of the use of information in Bureau files involved a "name 
check" at Secret Service request on certain persons applying for press credentials 
to cover the visit of a foreign head of state. The discovery of data in FBI files 
indicating that one such person had been actively involved with violent groups 
led to further investigation and ultimately the issuance of a search warrant. The 
search produced evidence, including weapons, of a plot to assassinate the foreign 
head of state. (FBI memorandum to Senate Select Committee, 2/23/76) 


—Between 1960 and 1974, the FBI conducted over 500,000 separate 
investigations of persons and groups under the "subversive" category, 
predicated on the possibility that they might be likely to overthrow 
the government of the United States.^"'' Yet not a single individual or 
group has been prosecuted since 1957 under the laws which prohibit 
planning or advocating action to overthrow the government and which 
are the main alleged statutory basis for such FBI investigations."^ 

— A recent study by the General Accounting Office has estimated 
that of some 17,528 FBI domestic intelligence investigations of in- 
dividuals in 1974, only 1.3 percent resulted in prosecution and con- 
viction, and in only "about 2 percent" of the cases was advance knowl- 
edge of any activity — legal or illegal — obtained.^°^ 

— One of the main reasons advanced for expanded collection of 
intelligence about urban unrest and anti-war protest was to help re- 
sponsible officials cope with possible violence. However, a former 
White House official with major duties in this area under the John- 
son administration has concluded, in retrospect, that "in none of these 
situations . . . would advance intelligence about dissident groups 
[have] been of much help," that what was needed was "physical intel- 
ligence" about the geography of major cities, and that the attempt to 
"predict violence" was not a "successful undertaking." ^"'^ 

— Domestic intelligence reports have sometimes even been counter- 
productive. A local police chief, for example, described FBI reports 
which led to the positioning of federal troops near his city as : 

. . . almost completely composed of unsorted and unevalu- 
ated stories, threats, and rumors that had crossed my desk in 
New Haven. Many of these had long before been discounted 
by our Intelligence Division. But they had made their way 
from New Haven to Washington, had gained completely un- 
warranted credibility, and had been submitted by the Di- 
rector of the FBI to the President of the United States. 
They seemed to present a convincing picture of impending 

In considering its recommendations, the Committee undertook an 
evaluation of the FBI's claims that domestic intelligence was neces- 
sary to combat terrorism, civil disorders, "subversion," and hostile 

"' This figure is the number of "investigative matters" handled by the FBI 
in this area, including as separate items the investigative leads in particular 
cases which are followed up by various field oflSces. (FBI memorandum to 
Select Committee. 10/6/75.) 

^'" Schackelford 2/13/76, p. 32. This ofllcial does not recall any targets of "sub- 
versive" investigations having been even referred to a Grand Jury under these 
statutes since the 1950s. 

108 upgj Domestic Intelligence Operations — Their Purpose and Scope: Issues 
Tliat Need To Be Resolved," Report by the Comptroller General to the House 
Judiciary Committee, 2/24/76, pp. 138-147. The FBI contends that these statis- 
tics may be unfair in that they concentrate on investigations of individuals 
rather than groups. (Ibid., Appendix V) In response, GAO states that its 
"sample of organization and control files was sufficient to determine that generally 
the FBI did not report advance knowledge of planned violence." In most of the 
fourteen instances where such advance knowledge was obtained, it relatetl to 
"such activities as speeches, demonstrations or meetings — all essentially non- 
violent." (Ibid. p. 144) 

^•^ .Joseph Califano testimony. 1/27/76, pp. 7-8. 

"" James Ahern testimony, 1/20/76, pp. 16, 17. 


foreign intelligence activity. The Committee reviewed voluminous 
materials bearing on this issue and questioned Bureau officials, local 
police officials, and present and former federal executive officials. 

We have found that we are in fundamental agreement with the 
wisdom of Attorney General Stone's initial warning that intelligence 
agencies must not be "concerned with political or other opinions of 
individuals" and must be limited to investigating essentially only 
"such conduct as is forbidden by the laws of the United States." The 
Committee's record demonstrates that domestic intelligence which de- 
parts from this standard raises grave risks of undermining the demo- 
cratic process and harming the interests of individual citizens. This 
danger weighs heavily against the speculative or negligible benefits of 
the ill-defined and overbroad investigations authorized in the past. 
Thus, the basic purpose of the recommendations contained in Part IV 
of this report is to limit the FBI to investigating conduct rather than 
ideas or associations. 

The excesses of the past do not, however, justify depriving the 
United States of a clearly defined and effectively controlled domestic 
intelligence capability. The intelligence services of this nation's inter- 
national adversaries continue to attempt to conduct clandestine espio- 
nage operations within the United States.^^^ Our recommendations 
provide for intelligence investigations of hostile foreign intelligence 

INIoreover, terrorists have engaged in serious acts of violence which 
have brought death and injury to Americans and threaten further such 
acts. These acts, not the ])olitics or beliefs of those who would commit 
them, are the proper focus for investigations to anticipate terrorist 
violence. Accordingly, the Committee would permit properly con- 
trolled intelligence investigations in those narrow circumstances.^^^ 

Concentration on imminent violence can avoid the wasteful dis- 
])ersion of resources which lias characterized tlie sweepin<T^ (and fruit- 
less) domestic intelligence investigations of the past. But the most 
important reason for the fundamental change in the domestic in- 
telligence operations which our Eecommendations propose is the 
need to protect the constitutional rights o^ Americans. 

In li^rht of the record of al^use revealed by our inquiry, the Com- 
mittee is not satisfied with the position that mere exposure of what 
has occurred in the past will prevent its recurrence. Clear legal 
standards and effective oversight and controls are necessary to en. ure 
that domestic intelligence activity does not itself undermine the 
democratic system it is intended to protect. 

^" An indication of the scope of the problem is the inoreasing number of official 
representatives of communist governments in the United States. For exnmple, 
the number of Soviic't officials in this country has increased from 333 in 1961 to 
1.079 bv early 1975. There were 2,683 East- West exf^hange visitors and l.nOO com- 
mercial visitors in 1974. (FBI Memorandum. "Intelligence Activities Within the 
United States by Foreign Governments," 3/20/7.^. ) 

^"According to the FBI, there were S9 bombings attributable to terrorist 
activity in 1975, as compared with 4.5 in 1974 and 24 in 1973. Six persons died in 
terrorist-flaimpd bombings and 76 persons were injured in 1975. Five other deaths 
were reported in other types of terrorist inf idents. Monetary damage reported in 
terrorist bombings exceeded 2.7 million dollars. It should be noted, however, that 
terrorist bombings are only a fraction of the total number of bombings in this 
country. Thus, the 89 terrorist bombings in 1975 were amonfr n total r>f over 
1,900 bombings, most of which were not, according to the FBI, attributable 
cleirlv to terrorist activity. (FBI memorandum to Senate Select Committee, 


1936 TO 1976 

A. Summary 

1. The Lesson: History Repeats Itself 

During and after the First World War, intelligence agencies, in- 
cluding the predecessor of the FBI, engaged in re]Dressive activity.^ 
A new Attorney General, Harlan Fiske Stone, sought to stop the in- 
vestigation of ''political or other opinions." ' This restraint was em- 
bodied only in an executive pronouncement, however. No statutes were 
passed to prevent the kind of improper activity which had been ex- 
posed. Thereafter, as this narrative will show, the abuses returned in a 
new form. It is now the responsibility of all three branches of gov- 
ernment to ensure that the pattern of abuse of domestic intelligence 
activity does not recur. 

2. The Pattern: Broadening Through Time, 

Since the re-establishment of federal domestic intelligence programs 
in 1936, there has been a steady increase in the government's capa- 
bility and willingness to pry into, and even disrupt, the political ac- 
tivities and personal lives of the people. The last forty years have 
witnessed a relentless expansion of domestic intelligence activity be- 
yond investigation of criminal conduct toward the collection of polit- 
ical intelligence and the launching of secret offensive actions against 

The initial incursions into the realm of ideas and associations were 
related to concerns about the influence of foreign totalitarian powers. 

^ Repressive practices during World War I included the formation of a vol- 
unteer auxiliary force, known as the American Protective League, which as- 
sisted the Justice Department and military intelligence in the investigation of 
"un-American activities" and in the mass round-up of 50,000 persons to discover 
draft evaders. These so-called "slacker raids" of 1918 involved warrantless 
arrests without sufficient probable cause to believe that crime had been or 
was about to be committed (FBI Intelligence Division memorandum, "An 
Analysis of FBI Domestic Security Intelligence Investigations," 10/28/75.) 

The American Protective League also contributed to the pressures which re- 
sulted in nearly 2.000 prosecutions for disloyal utterances and activities during 
World War I, a policy described by John Lord O'Brien, Attorney General Greg- 
ory's Special Assistant, as one of "wholesale repression and restraint of public 
oi)inion." (Zechariah Chafee. Free Speech in the United States (Cambridge: 
Harvard I^niversity Press, 1941) p. 69.) 

Shortly after the war the Justice Department and the Bureau of Investiga- 
tion jointly planned the notorious "Palmer Raids", named for Attorney Gen- 
eral A. Mitchell Palmer who ordered the overnight round-up and detention of 
some 10,000 persons who were thought to be "anarchist" or "revolutionary" 
aliens subject to deportation. (William Preston, Aliens and Dissenters (Cam- 
liridge: Hnrvard T^niversity Press. 1963), chs. 7-8; Stanley Colien, A. Mitchell 
Palmer: Politician (New York: Columbia University Press, 1963), chs. 11-12.) 

^ See Attorney General Stone's full statement, p. 23. 



Ultimately, however, intelligence activity was directed against do- 
mestic groups advocating change in America, particularly those who 
most vigorously opposed the "Vietnam war or sought to improve the 
conditions of racial minorities. Similarly, the targets of intelligence 
investigations were broadened from groups perceived to be violence 
prone to include groups of ordinary protesters. 

3. Three Periods of Growth for Domestic Intelligence 

The expansion of domestic intelligence activity can usefully be di- 
vided into three broad periods: (a) the pre-war and World "War II 
period; (b) the Cold "W^ar era; and (c) the period of domestic dissent 
beginning in the mid-sixties. The main developments in each of these 
stages in the evolution of domestic intelligence may be summarized as 
follows : 

a. 1936-191,5 
By presidential directive — rather than statute — the FBI and mili- 
taiy intelligence agencies were authorized to conduct domestic intelli- 
gence investigations. These investigations included a vaguely defined 
mission to collect intelligence about "subversive activities" which 
were sometimes unrelated to law enforcement. Wartime exigencies en- 
couraged the unregulated use of intrusive intelligence techniques; and 
the FBI began to resist supervision by the Attorney General. 

h. 191,6-1963 
Cold War fears and dangers nurtured the domestic intelligence pro- 
grams of the FBI and militaiy, and they became permanent features 
of government. Congress deferred to the executive branch in the 
oversight of these programs. The FBI became increasingly isolated 
from effective outside control, even from the Attorneys General. The 
scope of investigations of "subversion" widened greatly. Under the 
cloak of secrecv, the FBI instituted its COINTELPRO operations to 
"disrupt" and "neutralize" "subversives". Tlie National Security 
Agency, the FBI, and the CIA re-instituted instrusive wartime sur- 
veillance techniques in contravention of law. 

c. 196^-1976 
Intelligence techniques which previously had been concentrated 
upon foreign threats and domestic groups said to be under Communist 
influence were applied with increasing intensity to a wide range of do- 
mestic activity by American citizens. These techniques were utilized 
against peaceful civil rights and antiwar protest activity, and there- 
after in reaction to civil unrest, often without regard for the conse- 
quences to American liberties. The intelligence agencies of the United 
States — sometimes abetted by public opinion and often in response to 
pressure from administration officials or the Congress— frequently dis- 
regarded the law in their conduct of massive surveillance and aggres- 
sive counterintelligence operations against American citizens. In the 
past few years, some of these activities were curtailed, partly in re- 
sponse to the moderation of the domestic crisis; but all too often im- 
proper programs were terminated only in response to exposure, the 
threat of exposure, or a change in the climate of public opinion, such 
as that triggered by the Watergate affair. 


B. Establishing a Permanent Domestic Intelligence 
Structure: 1936-1945 

1. Background: The Stone Standard 

The first substantial domestic intellio^ence programs of the federal 
government were established during World War I. 

The Justice Department's Bureau of Investigation (as the FBI 
was then known), military intelligence, other federal investigative 
agencies, and the volunteer American Protective League were involved 
in these programs.^ In the period immediately following World War 
I, the Bureau of Investigation took part in the notorious Palmer Raids 
and other activities against persons characterized as "subversive." * 

Harlan Fiske Stone, who became Attorney General in 1924, described 
the conduct of Justice Department and the Bureau of Investigation 
before he took office as "lawless, maintaining many activities which 
were without any authority in federal statutes, and engaging in many 
practices which were brutal and tyrannical in tlie extreme." ^ 

Fearing that the investigative activities of the Bureau could invade 
])rivacy and inhibit political freedoms. Attorney General Stone 
announced : 

There is always the posibility that a secret police may be- 
come a menace to free government and free institutions, 
because it carries with it the possibility of abuses of power 
which are not always quickly apprehended or understood. 
... It is important that its activities be strictly limited to the 
performance of those functions for which it was created and 
that its agents themselves be not above the law or beyond its 
reach. . . . The Bureau of Investigation is not concerned with 
political or other opinions of individuals. It is concerned only 
with their conduct and then only with such conduct as is for- 
bidden by the laws of the United States. When a police sys- 
tem passes beyond these limits, it is dangerous to the proper 
administration of justice and to human liberty, which it 
should be our first concern to cherish.^ 

When Stone appointed J. Edgar Hoover as Acting Director of the 
Bureau of Investigation, he instructed Hoover to adhere to this 
standard : 

The activities of the Bureau are to be limited strictly to in- 
vestigations of violations of law, under my direction or under 

'See Joan Jensen, The Price of Vigilance (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1968). 
One FBI official recalled later, "There were probably seven or eight such active 
organizations operating at full force dxiring war days and it was not an uncommon 
experience for an Agent of this Bureau to call upon an individual in the course 
of his investigation, to find out that six or seven other Government agencies had 
been around to interview the party about the same matter." (Memorandum of 
F. X. O'Donnell, Subject: Operations During World War I, 10/4/38). 

* See footnote 1, p. 21. 

"Letter from Justice Harlan Fiske Stone to Jack Alexander, 9/21/37, cited in 
Alpheus T. Mason, Harlan FisJce Stone: Pillar of the Law (New York, Viking, 
19ofi),p. 149. 

" New York Times, 5/10/24. 


the direction of an Assistant Attorney General regularly con- 
ducting the work of the Department of Justice.^ 

Nevertheless, beginning in the mid-thirties, at White House direction, 
the FBI reentered the realm of collecting intelligence about ideas and 

■2. Main Developments of the 1936-191)6 Period 

In the years preceding World War II, domestic intelligence activi- 
ties were reinstituted, expanded, and institutionalized. Based upon 
vague and conflicting orders to investigate the undefined areas of 
"subversion" and "potential crimes" related to national security, the 
FBI commenced a broad intelligence program. The FBI was author- 
ized to preempt the field, although the military engaged in some in- 
vestigation of civilians. 

The FBI's domestic intelligence jurisdiction went beyond investiga- 
tions of crime to include a vague mandate to investigate foreign in- 
volvement in American affairs. In the exercise of this jurisdictional 
authority, the Bureau began to investigate law abiding domestic 
groups and individuals; its program was also open to misuse for 
political purposes. The most intrusive intelligence techniques — ini- 
tially used to meet wartime exigencies — were based on questionable 
statutory interpretation, or lacked any foraial legal authorization. 

The executive intentionally kept the issue of domestic intelligence- 
gathering away from the Congress until 1939, and thereafter the 
Congress appears to have deliberately declined to confront the issue. 
The FBI generally complied with the Attorney General's policies, 
but began to resist Justice Department review of its activities. On one 
occasion, the Bureau appears to have disregarded an Attorney Gen- 
eral's policy directive. 

However important these developments were in themselves, the en- 
during significance of this period is that it opened the institutional 
door to greater excesses in later years. 

3. Dotnestic Intelligence Authority : Vague and Con-flicting Executive 
The executive orders upon which the Bureau based its intelligence 
activity in the decade before World War II were vague and conflict- 
ing. By using words like "subversion" — a term which was never 
defined — and by permitting the investigation of "potential" crimes, 
and matters "not within the specific provisions of prevailing statutes", 
the foundation was laid for excessive intelligence gathering about 

''Stone to Hoover. 5/13/24, quoted in Mason, Harlan Fiskc Sitone, at p. 151. 
Although Hoover had served as head of the General Intellijrence Division of the 
Justice Department at the time of the "Palmer Raids" and became an Assistant 
Director of the Bureau in 1921, he persuaded Attorney General Stone and Roeer 
Baldwin of the American Civil I>iberties Union that he had plaved an "unwill- 
ing part" in the excesses of the past, and he agreed to disband the Bureau's 
"radical division." Baldwin advised Stone, "I think we were wrong in our esti- 
mate of his attitude." (Baldwin to Stone. 8/6/2^. ouoted in Donald .Tohnson, 
The Challenge to American Freedoms (University of Kentucky Press, 1063). pp. 

In December 1924, Stone made Hoover Director of the Bureau of Investigation. 


a. The Oinginal Roosevelt Orders 

In 1934, according to a memorandum by J. Edgar Hoover, Presi- 
dent Roosevelt ordered an investigation of "the Nazi movement in 
this country." In response, the FBI conducted a one-time investiga- 
tion, described by FBI Director Hoover as "a so-called intelligence 
investigation." It concentrated on "the Nazi group," with particular 
i-eference to "anti-racial" and "anti-American" activities having "any 
possible connection with official representatives of the Gei-man gov- 
ernment in the United States." ® 

Two years later, in August 1936, according to a file memorandum 
of Director Hoover, President Roosevelt asked for a more systematic 
collection of intelligence about : 

subversive activities in the United States, particularly Fas- 
cism and Communism. 

Hoover indicated further that the President wanted : 

a broad picture of the general movement and its activities 
as [they] may affect the economic and political life of the 
coimtry as a whole. 

The President and the FBI Director discussed the means by which 
the Bureau might collect "general intelligence information" on this 
subject.^ The only record of Attorney General Homer Cummings' 
knowledge of, or authorization for, this intelligence assignment is 
found in a memorandum from Director Hoover to his principal assist- 

h. Orders in 1938-39: The Vagueness of ^'■Subversive Activities'^^ 

and '•''PotentiaV Crimes 

In October 1938, Director Hoover advised President Roosevelt of 

the "present purposes and scope" of FBI intelligence investigations, 

"together with suggestions for expansion." His memorandum stated 

that the FBI was collecting : 

^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Mr. Cowley, 5/10/34. 

* J. Edgar Hoover memorandum to the files, 8/24/36. This memorandum states 
that, earlier in the conversation. Director Hoover had told the President : 

(i) Communists controlled or planned to take control of the West Coast long- 
shoreman's union, the United Mine Workers Union and the Newspaper Guild (and 
using those unions would l>e "able at any time to paralyze the country") ; 

(ii) "activities . . . inspired by Commvuiists" had recently taken place in the 
Government, "particularly in some of the Departments and the National Labor 
Relations Board" ; and 

(iii) The Communist Internationale had recently issued instructions for all 
Communists to "vote for President Roosevelt and against Governor Landon be- 
cause of the fact that Governor Landon is opposed to class warfare." 

These comments indicate that the Bureau had already begun some intelli- 
gence gathering on Communists and activities "inspired" by them prior to any 
Presidential order. In addition. Hoover's memorandum referred to prior intelli- 
gence collection on domestic right-wing figures Father Charles Coughlin and Gen- 
eral Smediey Butler. 

^° Hoover stated that Secretary of State Hull "at the President's suggestion, re- 
quested of me, the representative of the Department of .Justice, to have investiga- 
tion made of the subversive activities in this country, including communism and 
fascism." He added that "the Attorney General verbally directed me to proceed 
with this investigation." (Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to E. A. Tamm, 


information dealing with various forms of activities of either 
a subversive or so-called intelligence type.^^ 

Despite the references in Director Hoover's 1938 memorandum to 
"subversive-type" investigations, an accompanying letter to the Pres- 
ident from Attorney General Homer Cummings made no mention of 
"subversion" and cited only the President's interest in "the so-called 
espionage situation." ^^ Cummings' successor, Attorney General Frank 
Murphy, appears to have abandoned the term "subversive activities." ^^ 
Moreover, when Director Hoover provided Attorney General Frank 
Murphy a copy of his 1938 plan, he described it, without mentioning 
"subversion," as a program "intended to ascertain the identity of per- 
sons engaged in espionage, counterespionage, and sabotage of a nature 
not loithin the specific provisioo^s of prevailing statutes.''^ ^* [Emphasis 
added.] Murphy thereafter recommended to the President that he 
issue an order concentrating "investigation of all espionage, counter- 
espionage, and sabotage matters" in the FBI and military intelli- 

President Roosevelt agreeed and issued an order which, like 
Murphy's letter, made no mention of "subversive" or general intel- 
ligence : 

It is my desire that the investigation of all espionage, coun- 
ter espionage, and sabotage matters be controlled and handled 
by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of 
Justice, the Military Intelligence Division of the War De- 
partment, and the Office of Naval Intelligence in the Navy 
Department. The directors of these three agencies are to 
function as a committee to coordinate their activities. 

No investigations should be conducted by any investigative 
agency of the Government into matters involving actually or 
potentially any espionage, counterespionage, or sabotage, ex- 

" Memorandum on "domestic intelligence," prepared by J. Edgar Hoover, 
enclosed with letter from Attorney General Cummings to Roosevelt, 10/20/38. 
Director Hoover met with the President who, according to Hoover's memo- 
randum, "approved the plan which I had prepared and which had been sent 
to him by the Attorney General." (Memorandum to the files from J. Edgar 
Hoover, 11/7/3S.) 

" Letter from Attorney General Cummings to the President, 10/20/38. 

^' On 2/7/39, the Assistant to the the Attorney General wrote letters to the 
Secret Service, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Narcotics Bureau, the Cus- 
toms Ser\-ice. the Coast Guard, and the Postal Inspection Service stating that the 
FBI and military intelligence had "undertaken activities to investigate matters 
relating to espionage and subversive activities." (Letter from J. B. Keenan, As- 
sistant to the Attorney General, to F. J. Wilson, Chief, Secret Service, 2/7/39.) 

A letter from Attorney General Murphy to the Secretary of the Treasury 
shortly thereafter also referred to "subverisive activities." (Letter from Attorney 
General Murphy to the Secretary of the Treasury, 2/16/39.) 

However, a similar letter two days later referred only to matters "involving 
espionage, counterespionage, and sabotage," without mentioning "subversive ac- 
tivities." (I^ter from Attorney General Murphy to the Secretary of the Treas- 
ury, 2/18/39.) This may have reflected a decision by Murphy to cease using "sub- 
versive activities" to describe FBI investigations. Tlie record does not clarify the 
reason for his deletion of the phrase. 

" Memorandum from T. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Murphy, 3/16/39. 
Murphy was aware that the FBI contemplated investigations of subvensive ac- 
tivities, since Hoover enclosed his 1938 plan with this memorandum. 

^° Letter from Attorney General Murphy to the President, 6/17/39. 


cept by the three agencies mentioned above. [Emphasis 
added.] ^^ 

Precisely what the President's reference to "potential" espionage or 
sabotage was intended to cover was unclear. Whatever it meant, it was 
apparently intended to be consistent with Director Hoover's earlier 
description of the FBI program to Attorney General Murphy.^^ 

Three months later, after the outbreak of Avar in Europe, Director 
.Hoover indicated his concern that private citizens might provide 
information to the "sabotage squads" which local police departments 
were creating rather than to the FBI. Hoover urged the Attorney 
General to ask the President to request local officials to give the FBI 
all information concerning "espionage, counterespionage, sabotage, 
subversive activities, and neutrality regulations." ^^ 

The President immediately issued a statement which continued the 
confusing treatment of the breadth of the FBI's intelligence authority. 
On the one hand, the statement began by noting that the FBI had been 
instructed to investigate : 

matters relating to espionage, sabotage, and violations of the 
neutrality regulations. 

On the other hand, the President concluded by adding "subversive 
activities" to the list of information local law enforcement officials 
should relay to the FBI." 

c. Orders 19IfO-J^3: The Confusion Continues 
President Roosevelt used the term "subversive activities" in a secret 
directive to Attomev General Robert Jackson on wiretapping in 1940. 
Referrin.of to activities of other nations engaged in "propaganda of so- 
called 'fifth columns' " and "preparation for sabotage," he directed 
the Attorney General to authorize wiretaps "of persons suspected of 
subversive activities a<xainst the Government of the United States, 
includin5T susnected snies." The President instructed that such wire- 
taps be limited "insofar as possible" to aliens.'" Neither the President 

"Confidential Memorandum from the President to Department Heads, 6/26/39. 

^' Memorandum from Hoover to Murphy, 3/16/39, enclosing Hoover memoran- 
dum on "domestic intelligence," 10/20/38. 

^' Memorandum from ,J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Murphy, 9/6/39. 

" Statement of the President. 9/6/39. 

President Roosevelt never formally defined "subversive activities" — a term 
whose vagueness has proven a problem throughout the FBI's history. However, a 
hint as to his definition is contained in his remarks at a press conference on Sep- 
tember 9, 19,39. A national emergency had .iust been declared, and pursuant 
thereto, the President had issued an authorization for up to 1.50 extra FBI agents 
to handle "additional duties." In explaining that action, he stated he was 
concerned about "things that happened" before World War I. specifically "sabo- 
tage" and "propaganda by both belligerents" to "sway public opinion. . . . [I]t 
is to guard that and the spread by any foreign nation of propaganda in 
this nation which would tend to be subversive — I believe that is the word — 
of our form of Government." (19,39 Public Papers of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 
pp. 49.V4f)6. ) 

"*• Confidential memorandum from President Roosevelt to Attorney General 
.Taekson, ,5/21/40. In May 1941. the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the 
Xavv urged "a broadening of the investigative responsibility of the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation in the fields of sul)versive control of labor." (Memoran- 
dum from the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Xavy to the Presi- 
dent, ,5/29/41.) The President replied that he was sending their letter to the 
Attorney General "with my general approval." (IMemorandum from President 
Roosevelt to the Secretaries of War and Navy, 6/4/41.) 


nor the Attorney General subsequently clarified the scope of the FBI's 
authority to investigate "subversive activity." 

The confusion as to the breadth of President Koosevelt's authoriza- 
tion reappeared in Attorney General Francis Biddle's description of 
FBI jurisdiction in 1&42 and in a new Presidential statement in 1943. 

Bicldle issued a lengthy order defining the duties of the various parts 
of the Justice Department in September 1942. Among other things, the 
FBI was charged with a duty to "investigate" criminal offenses against 
the United States. In contrast, the FBI was to function as a "clear- 
ing house" with respect to "espionage, sabotage, and other subversive 
matters." ^^ 

Four months later, President Roosevelt renewed his public appeal 
for cooperation by police and other "patriotic organizations" with the 
FBI. In this statement, he described his September 1939 order as grant- 
ing "investigative" authority to the FBI for "espionage, sabotage, and 
violation of the neutrality regulations." The President did not adopt 
Attorney General Biddle's "clearing-house" characterization, nor did 
he mention "subversion." ^^ 

^. The Role of Congress 

a. Executive Avoidance of Congress 

In 1938, the President, the Attorney General, and the FBI Director 
explicitly decided not to seek legislative authorization for the expand- 
ing domestic intelligence program. 

Attorney General Cummings cautioned that the plan for domestic 
intelligence "should be held in the stricest confidence." " Director 
Hoover contended that no special legislation should be sought "m 
order to avoid criticism or objections which might be raised to such 
an expansion by either ill-informed persons or individuals with some 
ulterior motive." [Emphasis added.] Hoover thoug'ht it "undesirable 
to seek any special legislation which would draw attention to the fact 
that it was proposed to develop a special counter-espionage drive of 
any great magnitude" because the FBI's intelligence activity was al- 
ready "much broader than espionage or counterespionage." ^^ 

Director Hoover contended that the FBI had authority to engage in 
intelligence activity beyond investigating crimes at the request of the 

=^ Attorney General's Order No. 3732, 9/25/42, p. 19. But see Delimitation 
Agreement between the FBI and Military Intelligence, 2/9/42, at footnote 56. 

^ Statement of the President on "Police Cooperation," 1/8/43. A note in the 
President's handwriting added that the FBI was to receive information "relat- 
ing to espionage and related matters." (Copy in FDR Library.) 

^Cummings to Roosevelt, 10/20/38. 

" Hoover memorandum, enclosed with letter from Cummings to Roosevelt, 
10/20/38. Director Hoover's full point was that : 

"In considering the steps to be taken for the expansion of the present structure 
of intelligence work, it is believed imperative that it be proceeded with, with the 
utmost degree of secrecy in order to avoid criticism or objections which might be 
rai.'sed to such an expansion by either ill-informed persons or individuals having 
some ulterior motive. The word 'espionage' has long been a word that has been 
repugnant to the American people and it is believed that the structure which is 
already in existence is much broader than espionage or counterespionage, but 
covers in a true sense real intelligence values to the three services interested, 
namely, the Navy, the Army, and the civilian branch of the Government— the 
Department of Justice. Consequently, it would seem undesirable to seek any spe- 
cial leeislation which would draw .attention to the fact that it was proposed to 
develop a si)ecial counterespionage drive of any great magnitude." 


Attorney General or the Department of State. He relied on an amend- 
ment to the FBI Appropriations Act, passed before World War I, 
authorizing the Attorney General to appoint officials not only to "de- 
tect and prosecute" federal crimes but also to : 

conduct such other investigations regarding official matters 
under the control of the Department of Justice, or the Depart- 
ment of State, as may be directed by the Attorney General.^^ 

After conflicts with the State Department in 1939, however, the FBI 
no longer relied upon this vague statute for its authority to conduct 
intelligence investigations, instead relying upon the Executive orders.^® 

h. Congress Declines to Confront the Issue 

Even though Executive officials originally avoided Congress to 
prevent criticism or objections, after the President's proclamation of 
emergency in 1939 they began to inform Congress of FBI intelligence 
activities. In November 1939, Director Hoover told the House Appro- 
priations Committee that the Bureau had set up a General Intelli- 
gence Division, "by authority of the President's proclamation." ^^ And 
in January 1940, he told the same Committee that the FBI had author- 
ity under the President's September 6, 1939 statement to investigate 
espionage, sabotage, neutrality violations, and "any other subversive 
activities." ^^ 

There is no evidence that the Appropriations Committee objected 
or inquired further into the meaning of that last vague term, although 
membei"S did seek assurance that FBI intelligence could be curtailed 
when the wartime emergency ended.^® 

In 1940, a joint resolution was introduced by New York City Con- 
gressman Emmanuel Celler which would have given the FBI broad 
jurisdiction to investigate, by wiretapping or other means, or "frus- 
trate" any "interference with the national defense" due to certain 
specified crimes (sabotage, treason, seditious conspiracy, espi- 
onage, and violations of the neutrality laws) or "in any other man- 
ner." ^° Although the resolution failed to reach the House floor, it seems 
likely that, rather than opposing domestic intelligence investigations, 
Congress was simply choosing to avoid the issue of defining the FBI's 
intelligence jurisdiction. This view is supported by Congress' passage 
in 1940 and 1941 of two new criminal statutes : the Smith Act made 
it a crime to advocate the violent overthrow of the Government ; ^^ and 
the Voorhis Act required "subversive" organizations advocating the 

^28U.S.C. 533(3). 

^The conflicts between the FBI and the State Department in 1939 are dis- 
cussed at footnote 54. 

^ Emergency Supplemental Appropriation Bill, 1940, Hearings before the House 
Appropriations Committee, 11/30/39, pp. 303-307. 

In fact, the FBI had established a General Intelligence Section in its Investi- 
gative Division shortly after the President's 1936 requests. Congress was not 
advised of the Burefiu's activities undertaken prior to September 1939, nor 
of the President's earlier directives. 

^ .lustice Department Appropriation Bill. 1941, Hearings before the House 
Ai)propriations Committee, 1/5/40, p. 151. The President's 1939 statement did 
not specifically say that the FBI had authority to investigate "subversive activi- 

^1939 Hearings, p. 307; First Deficiency Appropriation Bill, 1941, Hearings 
before the House Appropriations Committee, 2/19/41, pp. 188-189. 

=" H..T. Res. 571, 76th Cong., 2d Sess. (1940) . 

"^ 18 U.S.C. 2385, 2387. 


Government's violent overthrow and having foreign ties to register or 
be subject to criminal penalties.^^ 

Although, as indicated, the Executive branch disclosed the fact 
that the FBI was doing intelligence work and Congress gen- 
erally raised no objection, there was one occasion when an Execu- 
tive description of the Bureau's work was less than complete. Follow- 
ing Director Hoover's testimony about the establishment of an 
Intelligence Division and some public furor over the FBI arrest of 
several Communist Party members in Detroit, Senator George Norris 
(R. Neb.) asked whether the Bureau was violating Attorney General 
Stone's assurance in 1924 that it would conduct only criminal in- 
vestigations. Attorney General Jackson replied: 

Mr. Hoover is in agreement with me that the principles 
which Attorney General Stone laid down in 1924 when the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation was reorganized and Mr. 
Hoover appointed as Director are sound, and that the useful- 
ness of the Bureau depends upon a faithful adherence to these 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation will confine its activi- 
ties to the investigation of violation of Federal statutes, the 
collecting of evidence in cases in which the United States is 
or may be a party in interest, and the service of process issued 
by the courts.^^ 

The FBI was, in fact, doing much more than that and had informed 
the Appropriations Committee of its practice in general terms. Attor- 
ney General Jackson himself stated later that the FBI was conducting 
"steady surveillance" of persons beyond those who had violated fed- 
eral statutes, including persons who were a "likely source" of federal 
law violation because they were "sympathetic with the systems or 
designs of foreign dictators." ^* 

5. Scope of Domestic Intelligence 

a. Beyond Criminal Investigations 
According to Director Hoover's account of his meeting with Presi- 
dent Roosevelt in 1936, the President wanted "a broad picture" of the 
impact of Communism and Fascism on American life.^^ Similarly, the 
FBI Director described his 1938 plan as "broader than espionage" 
and covering "in a true sense real intelligence." ^^ Thus it appears that 
one of the first purposes of FBI domestic intelligence was to perform 
the "pure intelligence" function of supplying executive oflficials with 
information believed of value for making policy decisions. This aspect 
of the assignment to investigate "subversion" was entirely unrelated 
to the enforcement of federal criminal laws. The second purpose of 
FBI domestic intelligence gathering was essentially "preventive," 

""18 U.S.C. 2386. 

^Letter from Attorney General Jackson to Senator Norris, 86 Cong. Rec. 

'* Proceedines of the Fedpral-State Conference on Law Enforcement Problems 
of National Defense. S/5-6/40. 

Several months earlier. At+ornev General .Tackson had warned federal prose- 
cutors about the dangers of prosecuting "subversives" because of the lack of 
standards and the daneer of overbreadth. (Robert H. .Tackson. "The Federal 
Prosecutor." Jourval of the Americav Jvflirature Society, 6/40. p. 18.) 

^ Hoover memorandum to the files, 8/24/.S6. 

^Hoover memorandum, enclosed with Cummings to Roosevelt, 10/20/38, see 
p. 28. 


in compliance with the President's June 1939 directive to investigate 
"potential" espionage or sabotage.^^ As war moved closer, preventive 
intelligence investigations focused on individuals who might be 
placed on a Custodial Detention List for possible internment in case 
of war.^^ 

Both pure intelligence about "subversion" and preventive intelli- 
gence about "potential" espionage or sabotage involved investigations 
based on political affiliations and group membership and association. 
The relationship to law enforcement was often remote and speculative; 
the Bureau did not focus its intelligence gathering solely on tangible 
evidence of preparation for crime. 

Directives implementing the general preventive intelligence instruc- 
tion to investigate "potential" espionage or sabotage were vague and 
sweeping. In 1939, for instance, field offices were told to investigate 
persons of German, Italian, and Communist "sympathies" and any 
other persons "whose interests may be directed primarily to the inter- 
est of some other nation than the United States." FBI offices were 
directed to report the names of members of German and Italian so- 
cieties, "whether they be of a fraternal character or of some other 
nature," and members of any other groups "which might have pro- 
nounced Nationalistic tendencies." The Bureau sought lists of 
subscribers and officers of German, Italian, and Communist foreign- 
language newspapers, as well as of other newspapers with "notorious 
Nationalistic sympathies." ^^ The FBI also made confidential inquiries 
regarding "various so-called radical and fascist organizations" to 
identify their "leading personnel, purposes and aims, and the part 
they are likely to play at a time of national crisis." *" 

The criteria for investigating persons for inclusion on the Custodial 
Detention List was similarly vague. In 1939, the FBI said its list in- 
cluded persons with "strong Nazi tendencies" and "strong Communist 
tendencies." •*^ FBI field offices were directed in 1940 to gather infor- 
mation on individuals who would be considered for the list because 
of their "Communistic, Fascist, Nazi, or other nationalistic back- 
ground." ^^ 

h. ''''InfiUratio'nP Investigations 
The FBI based its pure intelligence investigations on a theory of 
subversive "infiltration" which remained an essential part of the 
rationale for domestic intelligence after the war: anyone who hap- 
pened to associate with Communists or Fascists or was simply alleged 
to have such associations became the subject of FBI intelligence re- 
ports.*^ Thus, "subversive" investigations produced intelligence about 

^ Confidential memorandum from the President to Department heads, 6/26/39. 

"" See pp. 34-3.5. 

™ Tlie above-mentioned directives were all contained in a memorandum from 
.T. Edsrar Hoover to FBI Field Offices, 9/2/39. 

" Memorandum from Clyde Tolson to .7. Edgar Hoover, 10/30/39. 

" Internal FBI memorandum of E. A. Tamm. 11/9/39. 

"= Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to FBI Field Offices. 6/15/40. 

" Director Hoover declared in 1940 that advocates of foreign "isms" had "suc- 
ceeded in boring into every phase of American life, masquerading behind 'front' 
organizations." (Proceedings of the Federal-State Conference on Law Enforce- 
ment Problems of National Defense. August 5-6, 1940.) In his best-selling book on 
Commimists, Hoover stated, "Infiltration is the method whereby Party members 
move into noncommunist organizations for the purpose of exercising influence 
for communism. If control is secured, the organization becomes a communist 
front." (J. Edgar Hoover, Masters of Deceit (New York: Henry Holt, 1958), 
Ch. 16.) 


a wide variety of lawful groups and law-abiding citizens. By 1938, 
the FBI was investigating alleged subversive infiltration of: 

the maritime industry ; 

the steel industry; 

the coal industry ; 

the clothing, garment, and fur industries ; 

the automobile industry ; 

the newspaper field ; 

educational institutions ; 

organized labor organizations ; 

Negroes ; 

youth groups ; 

Government affairs; and 

the armed forces.*^ 

This kind of intelligence was transmitted to the White House. For 
example, in 1937 the Attorney General sent the President an FBI 
report on a proposed pilgrimage to Washington to urge passage of 
legislation to benefit American youth. The report stated that the 
American Youth Congress, which sponsored the pilgrimage, was 
understood to be strongly Communistic.*^ Later reports in 1937 de- 
scribed the Communist Party's role in plans by the Workers Alliance 
for nationwide demonstrations protesting the plight of the unem- 
ployed, as well as the Alliance's plans to lobby Congress in support 
of the federal relief program.*^ 

Some investigations and reports (which went into Justice Depart- 
ment and FBI permanent files) covered entirely legal political activi- 
ties. For example, one local group checked by the Bureau was called 
the League for Fair Play, which furnished "speakers to Rotary and 
Kiwanis Clubs and to schools and colleges." The FBI reported in 1941 

the organization was formed in 1937, apparently by two 
Ministers and a businessman for the purpose of furthering 
fair play, tolerance, adherence to the Constitution, democracy, 
liberty, justice, understanding and good will among all 
creeds, races and classes of the United States. 

A synopsis of the report stated, "No indications of Communist 
activities." ^'^ 

In 1944, the FBI prepared an extensive intelligence report on an 
active political group, the Independent Voters of Illinois, apparently 
because it was considered a target for Communist "infiltration." The 
Independent Voters group was reported to have been formed : 

for the purpose of developing neighborhood political units 
to help in the re-election of President Roosevelt, and the elec- 

" Hoover memorandum, enclosed with Cummingrs to Roosevelt, 10/20/38. 

^Letter from Attorney General Cummings to the President (and enclosure), 
1/30/.37 (FDR Library). 

" I^etter from Attorney General Cummings to the President (and enclosure), 
8/13/37 (FDR Library).* 

^^ Report of New York City field office. 10/22/41. summarized in Justice Denart- 
ment memorandum from S. Brodie to Assistant Attorney General Quinn. 10/10/47. 


tion of progressive congressmen. Apparently, IVI endorsed 
or aided Democrats for the most part, although it was stated 
to be "independent." It does not appear that it entered its 
own candidates or that it endorsed any Communists. IVI 
sought to help elect those candidates who would favor fight- 
ing inflation, oppose race and class discrimination, favor 
international cooperation, support a ''full-employment" pro- 
gram, oppose Facism, etc.^^ 

Thus, in its search for subversive "influence," the Bureau gathered 
extensive information about the lawful activities of left-liberal polit- 
ical groups. At the opposite end of the political spectrum, the activities 
of numerous right-wing groups like the Christian Front and Christian 
Mobilizers (followers of Father Coughlin), the American Destiny 
Party, the American Nationalist Party, and even the less extreme 
"America First" movement were reported by the FBI.*^ 

c. Partisan Use 

The collection of pure intelligence and preventive intelligence about 
"subversives" led to the inclusion in FBI files of political intelligence 
about the President's partisan critics. In May 1940, President Roose- 
velt's secretary sent the FBI Director hundreds of telegrams received 
by the White House. The attached letter stated : 

As the telegrams all were more or less in opposition to na- 
tional defense, the President thought you might like to look 
them over, noting the names and addresses of the senders.^" 

Additional telegrams expressing approval of a speech by one of the 
President's leading critics, Colonel Charles Lindbergh, were also re- 
ferred to the FBI.^^ A domestic intelligence program without clearly 
defined boundaries almost invited such action. 

d. Centralized Authority: FBI and Military/ Intelligence 
The basic policy of President Roosevelt and his four Attorneys Gen- 
eral was to centralize civilian authority for domestic intelligence in 
the FBI. Consolidation of domestic intelligence was viewed as a means 
of protecting civil liberties. Recalling the hysteria of World War I, 
Attorney General Frank Murphy declared : 

Twenty years ago, inhuman and cruel things were done in 
the name of justice ; sometimes vigilantes and others took over 
the work. We do not want such things done today, for the 
work has now been localized in the FBI.^^ 

Centralization of authority for domestic intelligence also served the 
FBI's bureaucratic interests. Director Hoover complained about 

"Report of Chicago field oflBce. 12/29/44. summarized in Justice Department 
memorandum from R. Brodie to Assistant Attorney General Quinn, 10/9/47. 

" Justice Department memorandum re : Christian Front, 10/28/41. 

^ Letter from Stephen Early, Secretary to the President, to J. Edgar Hoover, 
5/21/40 (FDR Library). 

^'Memorandum from Stephen Early, Secretary to the President, to J. Edgar 
Hoover, 6/17/40. 

^ New York Times, 10/1/39, p. 38. 

3-786 O - 76 - 4 


attempts by other agencies to "literally chisel into this type of 
work." ^* He exhorted : "We don't want to let it slip away from us." " 

Pursuant to President Roosevelt's 1939 directive authorizing the 
FBI and military intelligence to conduct all investigations of "poten- 
tial" espionage and sabotage, an interagency Delimitation Agreement 
in June 1940 assigned most such domestic intelligence work to the 
FBI. As revised in February 1942, the Agreement covered "investiga- 
tion of all activities coming under the categories of espionage, sub- 
version and sabotage." The FBI was responsible for all investigations 
"involving civilians in the United States" and for keeping the military 
informed of "the names of individuals definitely known to be con- 
nected with subversive activities." ^^ 

The military intelligence agencies were interested in intelligence 
about civilian activity. In fact, they requested extensive information 
about civilians from the FBI. In JNIay 1939, for instance, the Army G-2 
Military Intelligence Division (MID) transmitted a request for tlie 
names and locations of "citizens opposed to our participation in war 
and conducting anti-war propaganda." ^'^ Despite the Delimitation 
Agreement, the MID's Counterintelligence Corps collected intelligence 
on civilian "subversive activity" as part of a preventive security pro- 
gram using volunteer informers and investigators.'^ 

6. Control by the Attortiey General: Compliance and Resistance 

The basic outlines of the FBI's domestic intelligence program were 
approved by Attorney General Cummings in 1938 and Attorney Gen- 
eral Murphy in 1939.^*^ Director Hoover also asked Attorney General 
Jackson in 1940 for policy guidance concerning the FBI's "suspect list 

" Memorandum from .T. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Murphy, 3/16/39. 
The "literally chisel" reference reflects concern with a State Department attempt 
to "coordinate" all domestic intelligence. It may explain why, after 1988, the 
FBI no longer relied for its intelligence authority on the statutory provision for 
FBI investigations of "oflBcial matters under control of . . . the Department of 
State." Director Hoover stated that the FBI required State Department author- 
ization only where "the subject of a particular investigation enjoys any diplomatic 

"Note attached to letter from Col. J. M. Churchill, Army G-2, to Mr. E. A. 
Tamm, FBI, 5/16/39. 

" Delimitation of Investigative Duties of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 
the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Military Intelligence Division. 2/9/42. 

^^ Memorandum from Colonel Churchill, Counter Intelligence Branch, MID, 
to E. A. Tamm, FBI, 5/16/39. 

^ Victor J. Johanson, "The Role of the Army in the Civilian Arena, 1920-1970," 
U.S. Army Intelligence Command Study (1971). The scope of wartime Army 
intelligence has been summarized as follows : 

"It reported on radical labor groups, communists, Nazi sympathizers, and 
'semi-radical' groups concerned with civil liberties and pacifism. The latter, well 
intentioned but impractical groups as one corps area intelligence officer labeled 
them, were playing into the hands of the more extreme and realistic radical ele- 
ments. G-2 still believed that it had a right to investigate •'semi-radicals' because 
they undermined adherence to the established order by propaganda through 
newspapers, periodicals, schools, and churches." (Joan M. Jensen. "Military Sur- 
veillance of Civilians, 1917-1967," in Military InteJligencc. Hearings before the 
Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights (1974), pp. 174-175.) 

^* Letter from Attorney General Cummings to the President, 10/20/38; letter 
from Attorney General Murphy to the President, 6/17/39. The confusion as to 
whether Attomev General Murphy, Attorney General Jackson and Attorney 
General Biddle defined the FBI's duties to cover investigation of "subversive ac- 
tivities" is indicated at footnotes 13, 21 and 34. 


of individuals whose arrest might be considered necessaiy in the event 
the United States becomes involved in war." ^^ 

The FBI Director initially opposed, however, Attorney General 
Jackson's attempt to require more detailed supervision of the FBI's 
role in the Custodial Detention Program. To oversee this program and 
other's, Jackson created a Neutrality Laws Unit (later renamed the 
Special War Policies Unit) in the Justice Department. When the 
Unit proposed to review FBI intelligence reports on individuals, 
Director Hoover protested that turning over the FBI's confidential 
reports would I'isk the possibility of "leaks." He argued that if the 
identity of confidential informants became known, it would endanger 
their "life and safety" and thus the Department would "abandon" 
the "subversives field." ^^ 

After five months of negotiation, the FBI was ordered to transmit 
its "dossiers" to the Justice Department Unit.^^ To satisfy the FBI's 
concerns, the Department agreed to take no formal action against an 
individual if it "might interfere with sound investigative techniques" 
and not to disclose confidential informants without the Bureau's "prior 
approval." *^^ Thus, from 1941 to 1943, the Justice Department had the 
machinery to oversee at least this aspect of FBI domestic intelligence.^* 

In 1943, however, Attorney General Biddle ordered that the Cus- 
todial Detention List should be abolished as "impractical, unwise, and 
dangerous." His directive stated that there was "no statutory author- 
ity or other present justification" for keeping the list. The Attorney 
General concluded that the system for classifying "dangerous" persons 
was "inherently unreliable;" the evidence used was "inadequate;" and 
the standards applied were "defective." ®^ Biddle observed : 

the noition that it is possible to make a valid detennination as 
to hoAV dangerous a person is in tlie abstract and without 
reference to time, environment, and other relevant circum- 
stances, is impractical, unwise, and dangerous. 

Returning to the basic standard espoused bj^ Attorney General Stone, 
Attorney General Biddle declared : 

The Department fulfills its proper function by investigating 
the activities of persons who may have violated the law. It is 
not aided in this work by classifying persons as to dangerous- 

•' Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Jackson, 10/16/40. 

" Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to L.M.C. Smith, Chief, Neutrality Law 
Unit, 11/28/40. 

"^Memorandum from M. F. McGuire, Assistant to the Attorney General, to 
J. Edgar Hoover and L. M. C. Smith, 4/21/41. 

" Memorandum from M. F. McGuire, Assistant to the Attorney General, to 
.J. Edgar Hoover, 4/17/41. 

*" The Custodial Detention Program should not be confused with the intern- 
ment of Japanese Americans in 1942. The mass detention of Americans solely on 
the basis of race was exactly what the Program was designed to prevent, by 
making it possible for the government to decide in individual cases whether a 
person should be arrested in the event of war. When the Program was imple- 
mented after Pearl Harbor, it was limited to dangerous enemy aliens only. FBI 
Director Hoover opposed the mass round-up of Japanese Americans. 

*' Memorandum from Attorney General Biddle to Assistant Attorney General 
Cox and J. Edgar Hoover, Director, FBI, 7/16/43. 

*• Memorandum for Attorney General Biddle to Assistant Attorney General Cox 
and J. Edgar Hoover, Director, FBI, 7/16/43. 


Upon recedpt of tliis order, tlie FBI Diroctor did not in fact abolish 
its list. The FBI continued to maintain an index of persons "who 
may be dangerous or potentially dangferous to the public safety or 
internal security of the United States."' In i^esponse to the Attorney 
General's order, the FBI merely changed the name of the list from 
Custodial Detention List to Security Index. Instructions to the field 
stated that the Security Index should be kept "strictly confidential," 
and that it should iiever be mentioned in FBI repoits or "discussed 
with agencies or individuals outside the Bureau" except for military 
intelligence agencies.*^' 

This incident provides an example of tlie FBI's ability to conduct 
domestic intelligence operations in opposition to the policies of an 
Attorney General. Despite Attorney General Biddle's order, the "dan- 
gerousness" list continued to be kept, and investigations in support of 
that list continued to be a significant part of the Bureau's work. 

7. Intrusive Techniques: Questionable Authorization 

a. Wiretaps: A Strained Statutory Interpretation 

In 1940, President Roosevelt authorized Fl^I wiretapping against 
"persons suspected of subversive activities against the United States, 
including suspected spies," requiring the specific approval of the At- 
torney General for each tap and directing that they be limited "insofar 
as possible to aliens." ^^ 

This order was issued in the face of the Federal Communications 
Act of 1934, which had prohibited wiretapping.^^ However, the Attor- 
ney General interpreted the Act of 1934 so as to permit government 
wiretapping. Since the Act made it unlaw^ful to "intercept and di- 
vulge" communications, Attorney General Jackson contended that it 
did not apply if there was no divulgence outside the Government. 
[Emphasis added.] ^° Attorney General Jackson's questionable in- 
terpretation was accepted by succeeding Attorneys General (until 
1968) but never by the courts.^^ 

Jackson infonned the Congress of his interpretation. Congress con- 
sidered enacting an exception to the 1934 Act, and held hearings in 
which Director Hoover said wiretapping was "of considerable im- 
portance" because of the "gravity" to "national safety" of such of- 

^^ Memorandum from J. Edg^ar Hoover to FBI Field Offices. Ro : Dangerousness 
Classification, S/14/4^. This is the only document pertaining to Director Hoover's 
decision which appears in the material proA'ided by the FBI to the Select Com- 
mittee covering Bureau ix>licies for the "Security Index." The FBI iutei-preted 
the Attorney General's order as applying only to "the dangerous classifications 
previously made by the . . . Special War Policies Unit" of the Justice Depart- 
ment. (The full text of the Attorney General's order and the FBI directive appear 
in Hearings, Vol. 6, pp.' 412-415.) 

^ Confidential memorandum from President Roosevelt to Attornev General 
Jackson. 5/21/40. 

®'47 U.S.C. 605. The Supreme Court held that this Act made wiretap-obtained 
evidence or the fruits thereof inadmissible in federal criminal Nardone v. 
United States, 302 U.S. 379 (1937) ; 308 U.S. 338 (1939) . 

'" Letter from Attorney General Jackson to Rep. Hatton Summers. 3/19/41. 

"E.g., United States v. Biitenko, 494 F.2d 593 (3d Cir. 1974), eert. denied 
sub nom. Iranov v. United States, 419 U.S. 881 (1974). The Court of Appeals held 
in this case that warrantless wiretapping could only be justified on a theory of 
inherent Presidential power, and questioned the statutory interpretation relied 
upon since Attorney General Jackson's time. Until 1967, the Supreme Court did 
not rule that wiretapping violated the Fourth Amendment. [Olmstead v. United 
States, 275 U.S. 557 (1927) ; Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967).] 


fenses as espionage and sabotageJ^ Apparently relying upon Jackson's 
statutory interpretation, Congress then dropped tlie matter, leaving 
the authorization of wiretaps to Executive discretion, without either 
statutory standards or the requirement of a judicial warrant." 

The potential for misuse of wiretapping was demonstrated during 
this period by several FBI wiretaps approved by the Attorney General 
or by the White House. In 1941, Attorney General Biddle approved 
a wiretap on the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce with the caveat : 

There is no record of espionage at this time; and, unless 
within a month from today there is some evidence connect- 
ing the Chamber of Commerce with espionage, I think the 
surveillance should be discontinued.'^* 

However, in another case Biddle disapproved an FBI request to wire- 
tap a Philadelphia bookstore "engaged in the sale of Communist litera- 
ture" and frequented by "important Communist leaders" in lO-tl.'^'^ 

Materials located in Director Hoover's "Official and Confidential'' 
file indicate that President Koosevelt's aide Harry Hopkins asked the 
FBI to wiretap his own home telephone in 1944. Additional reports 
from "technical" surveillance of an unidentified target were sent to 
Hopkins in May and July 1945, when he served as an aide to Presi- 
dent Truman.'*' 

In 1945 two Truman White House aides, E. D. McKim and General 
H. H. Vaughn, received reports of electronic surveillance of a high 
executive official. One of these i-eports included "transcripts of tele- 
phone conversations between [the official] and Justice Felix Frank- 
furter and between [the official] and Drew Pearson." ''^^ 

From June 1945 until May 1948, General Vaughn received reports 
from electronic surveillance of a former Roosevelt AVhite House aide. 
A memorandum by J. Edgar Hoover indicates that Attorney General 
Tom Clark "authorized the placing of a technical surveillance" on this 
individual and that, according to Clark, President Truman "was par- 
ticularly concerned" about the activities of this individual "and his 
associates" and wanted "a very thorough investigation" so that "steps 
might be taken, if possible, to see that such activities did not interfere 
with the proper administration of government." Hoover's memoran- 
dum did not indicate what these "activities" were.^'^" 

'" Hearings before the House Judiciary Committee, To Autliorize Wiretapping, 
77th Cong., 1st Sess. ( 1941 ) , p. 112. 

" Congress continued to refrain from setting wiretap standard.? until 1968 
wlien the Ominbus Crime Control Act was passed. Tlie Act was limited to crimi- 
nal cases and, once again, avoided the issue of intelligence wiretaps. [18 U.S.C. 

'* Memorandum from Attorney General Riddle to J. Edgar Hoover, 11/19/41. 
Biddle advi.sed Hoover that wiretaps (or "technical surveillances") would not 
be authorized unless there was "information leading to the conclusion that the 
activities of any particular individual or group are connected with espionage 
or are authorized sources outside of this country." 

'" Memorandum from .T. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Biddle. 10/2/41 ; 
memorandum from Attorney General Biddle to .7. Edgar Hoover, 10/22/41. 

""' Memorandum from FBI to Select Committee, .3/26/76 and enclosures. 

'"' ^Memorandum from I). M. Ladd to Hoover, .5/2.3/45. 

""• Hoover memorandum, 11/15/45 ; a memorandum headed "Summaries De- 
livered ti) the White House" lists over 175 reports sent to General Vaughn from 
this surveillance ; memorandum from FBI to Select Committee, 3/26/76, aniJ 


h. Bugging, Mail Opening, and Surreptitious Entry. 

Intrusive techniques such as bugging, mail opening and surreptitious 
entry were used by the FBI without even tlie kind of formal Presi- 
dential authorization and requirement of Attorney General approval 
that applied to warrantless wiretapping. 

During the war, the FBI began "chamfering" or surreptitious mail 
opening, to supplement the overt censorship of international mail 
authorized by statute in wartime." The practice of surreptitious en- 
try — or breaking-and-entering — was also used by the FBI in war- 
time intelligence operations.'* The Bureau continued or resumed the 
use of these techniques after the war without explicit outside 

Furthermore, the installation of microphone surveillance ("bugs"), 
either with or without trespass, was exempt from the procedure for 
Attorney General approval of wiretaps. Justice Department records 
indicate that no Attorney General formally considered the question 
of microphone surveillance involving trespass, except on a hypotheti- 
cal basis, until 1952.^^ 

C. Domestic Intelligence i:Sr the Cold War ERA : 1946-1963 

1. Main Developments of the 19Jf6-1963 Period 

The domestic intelligence programs of the FBI and the military 
intelligence agencies, wliich were established under presidential au- 
thority before World War II, did not cease with the end of hostilities. 
Instead, they set the pattern for decades to come. 

Despite Director Hoover's statement that the intelligence structure 
could be "discontinued or very materially curtailed" with the termi- 
nation of the national emergency, after the war intelligence operations 
were neither discontinued nor curtailed.*° Congressional deference to 
the executive branch, the broad scope of investigations, the growth of 
the FBI's power, and the substantial immunity of the Bureau from 
effective outside supervision became increasingly significant features 
of domestic intelligence in the United States. New domestic intelligence 
functions were added to previous responsibilities. No attempt was 

" FBI memorandum from C. E. Hennrich to A. H. Belmont, 9/7/51. 

" Memoramlum from the FBI to the Senate Select Committee, 9/23/75. 

™A 1944 Justice Department memorandum discussed the "admissibility of 
evidence obtained by trash covers and microphone surveillance," in response to 
a series of hypothetical questions submitted by the FBI. The memorandum 
concluded that evidence so obtained was admissible even if the microphone sur- 
veillance involved a trespass. (Memorandum from Alexander Holtzoff, Special 
Assistant to the Attorney General, to J. Edgar Hoover, 7/4/44; c.f., memorandum 
from Attorney General J. Howard McGrath to J. Edgar Hoover, 2/26/52.) See 
footnote 229 for the 1950s consideration of bugs by the Attorney General. 

™ In early 1941, Director Hoover had had the following exchange with members 
of the Appropriations Committee : 

"Mr. Ludlow. At the close of the present emergency, when i^eace comes, it 
would mean that much of this emergency work necessarily will be discontinued." 

"Mr. Hoover. That is correct. ... If the national emergency should terminate, 
the structure dealing with national defense can immediately be discontinued or 
very materially curtailed according to the wishes of Congress." {First Deficiency 
Appropriation Bill, 19Jfl, Hearings before the House Committee on Appropria- 
tions, 3/19/41, pp. 188-189. ) 


made to enact a legislative charter replacing the wartime emergency 
orders, as was done in the foreign intelligence field in 1947. 

The main developments during the Cold "War era may be summa- 
rized as follows : 

a. Domestic Intelligence Authority 

During this period there was a national consensus regarding the 
danger to the United States from Communism; little distinction was 
made between the threats posed by the Soviet Union and by Commu- 
nists within this country. Domestic intelligence activity was supported 
by that consensus, although not specifically authorized by the Congress. 

Formal authority for FBI investigations of "subversive activity" 
and for the agreements between the FBI and military intelligence was 
explicitly granted in executive directives from Presidents Truman 
and Eisenhower, the National Security Council, and Attorney Gen- 
eral Kennedy. These directives provided no guidance, however, for 
conducting or controlling such investigations. 

6. &coye of Domestic Intelligence 

The breadth of the FBI's investigation of ''subversive infiltration" 
continued to produce intelligence reports and massive files on lawful 
groups and law-abiding citizens who happened to associate, even 
unwittingly, with Communists or with socialists unconnected with the 
Soviet Union who used revolutionary rhetoric. At the same time, the 
scope of FBI intelligence expanded to cover civil rights protest activ- 
ity as well as violent '""Klan-type" and "hate" groups, vocal anticom- 
munists, and prominent opponents of racial integration. The vague- 
ness of the FBI's investigative mandate and the overbreadth of its 
collection programs also placed it in position to supply the "\Aniite 
House with numerous items of domestic political intelligence appar- 
ently desired by Presidents and their aides. 

In response to White House and congressional interest in right- 
wing organizations, the Internal Revenue Service began comprehen- 
sive investigations of riglit-wing groups in 1961 and later expanded 
to left-wing organizations. This effort was directed at identifying 
contributions and ascertaining whether tlie organizations were entitled 
to maintain their exempt status. 

c. Accountability and Control 

Pervasive secrecy enabled the FBI and the Justice Department to 
disregard as "unworkable" the Emergency Detention Act intended to 
set standards for aspects of domestic intelligence. The FBI's independ- 
ent position also allowed it to withhold significant information from a 
presidential commission and from eveiT Attorney General ; and no 
Attorney General inquired fully into the Bureau's operations. 

During the same period, apprehensions about having a "security 
police" influenced Congress to prohibit the Central Intelligence 
Agency from exercising law enforcement poAvers or performing "inter- 
nal security functions.'' Nevertheless, in secret and without effective 
internal controls, the CIA undertook programs for testing chemical 
and biological agents on unwitting Americans, sometimes with tragic 
consequences. The CIA also used American private institutions as 


"cover" and used intrusive techniques affecting the rights of 

d. Intrusive Techniques 

The CIA and the National Security Agency illegally instituted pro- 
grams for the interception of international communications to and 
from American citizens, primarily first class mail and cable traffic. 

During this period, the FBI also used intrusive intelligence gather- 
ing techniques against domestic "subversives" and counterintelligence 
targets. Sometimes these techniques were covered by a blanket dele- 
gation of authority from the Attorney General, as with microphone 
surveillance ; but frequently they were used without outside authoriza- 
tion, as with mail openings and surreptitious entry. Only conventional 
wiretaps required the Attorney General's approval in each case, but 
this method was still misused due to the lack of adequate standards 
and procedural safeguards. 

e. Domestic Covert Action 

In the mid-fifties, the FBI developed the initial COINTELPRO 
operations, whicli used aggressive covert actions to disrupt and dis- 
credit Communist Party activities. The FBI subsequently expanded 
its COINTELPRO activities to discredit peaceful protest groups 
whom Communists had infiltrated but did not control, as well as 
groups of socialists who used revolutionary rhetoric but had no con- 
nections with a hostile foreign power. 

Throughout this period, there was a mixture of secrecy and dis- 
closure. Executive action was often substituted for legislation, some- 
times with the full laiowledge and consent of Congress and on other 
occasions without informing Congress or by advising only a select 
group of legislators. There is no question that Congress, the courts, 
and the public expected the FBI to gather domestic intelligence about 
Communists. But the broad scope of FBI investigations, its specific 
programs for achieving "pure intelligence" and ''preventive intelli- 
gence" objectives, and its use of intrusive techniques and disruptive 
counterintelligence measures against domestic "subversives" were not 
fully known by anyone outside the Bureau. 

2. Dotnestic Intelligence AuthoHty 
a. Anti-C ommunist Consensus 
During the Cold War era, the strong consensus in favor of govern- 
mental action against Communists was reflected in decisions of the 
Supreme Court and acts of Congress. In the Korean War period, for 
instance, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of domestic Com- 
munist Party leaders under the Smith Act for conspiracy to advocate 
violent overthrow of the government. The Court pinned its decision 
upon the conspiratorial nature of the Communist Party of the United 
States and its ideological links with the Soviet Union at a time of 
stress in Soviet-American relations.^^ 

®^ The Conrt held that the grave and probable danger posed by the Comnuinist 
Party justified this restriction on free speech inider the First Amendment : 

"The formation by petitioners of such a highly organized conspiracy, with 
rigidly disciplined members subject to call when the leaders, these petitioners, 
felt that the time had come for action, coupled with the inflammable nature of 


Several statutes buttressed the FBI's claim of legitimacy for at least 
some aspects of domestic intelligence. Although Congress never di- 
rectly authorized Bureau intelligence operations, Congress enacted the 
Internal Security Act of 1950 over President Truman's veto. Its two 
main provisions were : the Subversives Activities Control Act, requir- 
ing the registration of members of communist and communist "front"' 
groups ; and the Emergency Detention Act, providing for the intern- 
ment in an emergency of pei-sons who might engage in espionage or 
sabotage. In this Act, Congress made findings that the Communist 
Party was " a disciplined organization" operating in this nation "under 
Soviet Union control" with the aim of installing "a Soviet style dic- 
tatorship.'' *- Going even further in 1954, Congress passed the Com- 
munist Control Act, which provided that the Communist Party was 
"not entitled to any of the rights, privileges, and immunities attendant 
upon legal bodies created under the jurisdiction of the laws of the 
United States." ^^ 

In 1956, the Supreme Court recognized the existence of FBI intelli- 
gence aimed at "Communist seditious activities.'" *^ The basis for Smith 
Act prosecutions of "subversive activity"' was narrowed in 1957, how- 
ever, when the Court overturned the convictions of second-string 
Communist leaders, holding that the government must show advocacy 
"of action and not merely abstract doctrine." ^^ In 1961, the Court 
sustained the constitutionality under the First Amendment of the re- 
quirement that the Communist Party register with the Subversive 
Acivities Control Board.®*' 

The consensus should not be portrayed as monolithic. President 
Truman was concerned about risks to constitutional government posed 

world conditions, and the touch-and-go nature of our relations witli countries 
with whom petitioners were in the very least ideologically attuned, convince us 
that their convictions were justified on this score." [Dennis v. United States, 341 
U.S. 494 r)10-.lll (1951).] 

^^64 Stat. 987 (1950) The Subversive Activities Control Act's registration pro- 
vision was held not to violate the First Amendment in 1961. [Communist Party v. 
Suhi'e7-sive Activities Control Board, .367 U.S. 1 (1961).] However, registration 
of Communists under the Act was later held to violate the Fifth Amendment 
privilege against .self-incrimination. [Albertson v. Subversive Activities Control 
Board, 382 U.S. 70 (1965).] The Emergency Detention Act was repealed in 1971. 

^ 68 Stat. 775 (1954), .50 U.S.C. 841-844. The constitutionality of the Communist 
Control Act of 1954 has never been tested. 

** In light of the facts now known, the Supreme Court seems to have overstated 
the degree to which Congress had explicitly "charged" the FBI with intelligence 
responsibilities : 

"Congress has devised an all-embracing program for resistance to the various 
forms of totalitarian aggression. ... It has charged the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency with responsibility for intelli- 
gence concerning Communist seditious activities against our Government, and 
has denominated such activities as part of a world conspiracy." [Pennsylvania v. 
Nrlsou, 3.50 U.S. 497. 504-505 (19.56).] 

This decision held that the federal government had preempted state sedition 
laws, citing President Roosevelt's September 1939 statement on FBI authority 
and an address by FBI Director Hoover to state law enforcement officials in 
August 1940. 

"^ Yates V. United States, 354 U.S. 298, 325 (1957). 

®\Tustice Douglas, who dissented on Fifth Amendment grounds, agreed with 
the majority on the First Amendment issue : 

"The Bill of Rights was designed to give play to the exchange and dis- 
semination of ideas that touch the politics, culture, and other aspects of our life. 
When an organization is used by a foreign power to make advances here, qiies- 
tions of security are raised beyond the ken of disputation and debate between 
the people resident here." [Communist Party v. Subversive Activities Control 
Board, 367 U.S. 1, 174 (1961).] 


by the zealous anti-Communism in Congress. According to one White 
House staff member's notes during the debate over the Internal 
Security Act : 

The President said that the situation . . . was the worst 
it had been since the Alien and Sedition Laws of 1798, that 
a lot of people on the Hill should know better but had been 
stampeded into running with their tails between their legs. 

Truman announced that he would veto the Internal Security Act 
"regardless of how politically un])opular it was — election year or 
no election year." ®^ But President Truman's veto was overridden by 
an overwhelming margin. 

h. The Federal Einjjloyee Loyalty-Security Program 
(1) Orlghis of the Program. — President Truman established a 
federal employee loyalty program in 1947.*^ Its basic features were 
retained in the federal employee security program authorized by 
President Eisenhower in public Executi^•e Order 10450, which, with 
some modifications, still applies toclay.^^ 

Although it had a much broader reach, the program originated out 
of well-founded concern that Soviet intelligence was then using the 
Communist Party as a vehicle for the recruitment of espionage 
agents.^" President Truman appointed a Temporary Commision on 
Employee Loyalty in 1946 to examine the problem, FBI Director 
Hoover submitted a memorandum on the types of activities of "sub- 
versive or disloyal persons'' in government service which would con- 
stitute a "threat" to security. As Hoover saw it, however, the danger 
was not limited to espionage or recruitment for espionage. It extended 
to "influencing" government policies in favor of "the foreign country 
of their ideological choice.'' Consequently, he urged that attention 
be given to the associations of government employees with "front" 
organizations, including "temporary organizations, 'spontaneous' 
campaigns, and pressure movements so frequently used by subversive 
groups." ^^ 

The President's Commission accepted Director Hoover's broad view 
of the threat, along with the view endorsed by a Presidential Com- 
mission on Civil Rights that there also was a danger from "those who 
would subvert our democracy by . . . destroying the civil rights of some 
groups.'" ^^ Consequently, the Executive Order included, as an inclica- 

" File memorandum of S. J. Spingarn, assistant counsel to the President, 
7/22/50. (Spingarn Papers, Harry S. Truman Library.) 

** Executive Order 9835, 12 Fed. Reg. 1935 (1947) . 

''Executive Order 10450, 18 Fed. Reg. 2489 (1953). 

"" A report by a Canadian Royal Commission in June 1946 greatly influenced 
United States government policy. The Royal Commission stated that "a number 
of young Canadians, public servants and others, who begin with a desire to 
advance causes which they consider worthy, have been induced into joining 
study groups of the Communist Party. They are persuaded to keep this adherence 
secret. They have been led step by step along the ingeneous psychological develop- 
ment course . . . until under the influence of sophisticated and unscrupulous 
leaders they have been persuaded to engage in illegal activities directed against 
the safety and interests of their own society." The Royal Commission recom- 
mended additional security measures "to prevent the infiltration into positions 
of trust under the Government of persons likely to commit" such acts of espionage. 
(The Report of the Royal Commission, 6/27/46, pp. 82-83. 686-689.) 

^ Memorandum from the FBI Director to the President's Temporary Commis- 
sion on Employee Loyalty, 1/3/47. 

"'President's Committee on Civil Rights, To Secure These Rights (1947), 
p. 52. 


tioii of disloyalty, membership in or association with groups desig- 
nated on an ''Attorney General's list" as : 

totalitarian, fascist, connnunist, or subversive, or as having 
adopted a policy of advocating or approving the commission 
of acts of force or violence to deny others their rights under 
the Constitution of the United States, or as seeking to alter 
the form of government of the United States by unconstitu- 
tional means.^^ 

The Executive Order was used to provide a legal basis for the FBI's 
investigation of allegedly "subversive" organizations which might fall 
within these categories.'-** Such investigations supplied a body of in- 
telligence data against which to check the names of prospective fed- 
eral employees.°^ 

(2) Breadth of the Investigations. — By the mid-1950s, the Bureau 
believed that the Connnunist Party was no longer used for Soviet 
espionage ; it represented only a "potential" recruiting ground for 
spies.^** Thereafter, FBI investigations of Communist organizations 
and other groups unconnected to espionage but falling within the 
standards of the Attorney General's list frequently became a means 
for monitoring the political background of prospective federal em- 
ployees by means of the "name check" of Bureau files. These investi- 
gations also served the "pure intelligence" function of informing the 
Attorney General of the influence and organizational affiliations of so- 
called "subversives." ^^ 

No organizations were formally added to the Attorney General's 
list after 1955.^^ However, the FBI's "name check" reports on prospec- 
tive employees were never limited to information about listed orga- 
nizations. The broad standards for placing a group on the Attorney 
General's list were used to evaluate an employee's background, regard- 
less of whether or not he was a member of a group on the list.^** If a 
"name check'' uncovered information about a prospective employee's 
association with a group which might come within those standards, the 

^' Executive Order 9835, part I, section 2 ; cf. Executive Order 10450, section 

** In 1960, for instance, the Justice Department advised the FBI to continue 
investigating an organization not on the Attorney General's list in order to secure 
"additional information . . . relative to the criteria" of the employee security 
order. (Memorandum from Assistant Attorney General J. Walter Yeagley to 
J. Edgar Hoover, 5/17/60. ) 

82 FBI "name checks" are authorized as one of the "national agencies checks" 
required by Executive Order 10450, section 3(a). 

^ FBI Monograph, "The Menace of Communism in the United State.s Today", 
7/29/55, pp. iv-v. See footnote 271. 

°' The FBI official in charge of the Internal Security Section of the Intelli- 
gency Division in the fifties and early sixties testified that the primary purpose 
of FBI investigations of communist "infiltration" was to advise the Attorney 
General so that he could determine whether a group should go on the Attorney 
General's list. He also testified that investigations for this purpose continue<l 
after the Attorney General ceased adding names of groups to the list. (F. J. 
Baumgardner testimony, 10/8/75, pp. 48-49. ) See pp. 48-49 for discussion of the 
FBI's COMIXFIL program. 

** ^lemoranda from the Attorney General to heads of Departments and Agencies, 
4/29/53; 7/1.5/53; 9/28/53; 1/22/54. Groups designated prior to that time 
included numerous defunct German and Japanese societies. Communist and Com- 
munist "front" organizations, the Socialist Workers Party, the Nationalist Party 
of Puerto Rico, and several Ku Klux Klan organizations. 

"^ Executive Order 10450, section 8(a)(5). 


FBI would report the data and attach a "characterization" of the orga- 
nization relating to the standards.^"" 

(3) FBI Control of Loyalty -Security Investigations. — President 
Eisenhower's 1953 order specifically designated the FBI as responsible 
for "a full field investigation'' whenever a "name check" or a back- 
ground investigation by the Civil Service Commission or any other 
agency uncovered information indicating a potential security risk.^"^ 
President Truman had refused to give the Bureau this exclusive power 
initially, but he fought a losing battle."^ 

Director Hoover had objected that President Truman's order did not 
give the FBI excusive power and threatened "to withdraw from this 
field of investigation rather than to engage in a tug of Avar with the 
Civil Service Commission." ^°^ President Truman was apprehensive 
about the FBI's growing power. The notes of one presidential aide on a 
meeting with the President reflect that Truman felt "very strongly 
anti-FBI" on the issue and wanted "to be sure and hold FBI down, 
afraid of 'Gestapo.' " "^ 

Presidential assistant Clark Clifford reviewed the situation and 
came down on the side of the FBI as "better qualified" than the Civil 
Service Commission. ^°^ But the President insisted on a compromise 
which gave Civil Service "discretion" to call on the FBI "if it 
wishes." ^"^ Director Hoover protested this "confusion" about the FBI's 
jurisdiction. ^°^ When Justice Departm.ent officials warned that Con- 
gress would "find flaws" with the compromise. President Truman 
noted on a memorandum from Clifford : 

J. Edgar will in all probability get this backward looking 
Congress to give him what he wants. It's dangerous.^°^ 

President's Truman's prediction was correct. His budget request of 
$16 million for Civil Service and $8.7 million for the FBI to conduct 
loyalty investigations was revised by Congress to allocate $7.4 million 
to the FBI and only $3 million to Civil Service.^°^ The issue was finally 
resolved to the FBI's satisfaction when the President issued a state- 
ment declaring that there iwere "to be no exceptions" to the rule that 
the FBI would make all loyalty investigations."" 

100 rpj^g FBI's field offices were supplied with such "thumb-nail sketches" or 
characterizations to supplement the Attorney General's list and the reports of the 
House Committee on Un-American Activities. {E.g., SAC Letter No. 60-34, 
7/12/60. ) 

"' Executive Order 104.50, section 8(d). 

^°^ The reference to a "full field investigation" where there was "derogatory 
information with respect to loyalty" did not, in the Truman order, say who would 
conduct the investigation. (Executive Order 9835, part I, section 4.) 

"'^ Memoranda from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Tom Clark, 3/19/47 
and 3/31/47. 

^*^ File memorandum of George M. Elsey, 5/2/47. (Harry S. Truman Library.) 

^"^ Memorandum from C'ark Clifford to the President. 5/7/47. 

^•^ Memorandum from Clark Clifford to the President, 5/9/47 ; letter from 
President Truman to H. B. Mitchell, U.S. Civil Service Commission, 5/9/47. 
(Harry S. Truman Library.) 

'^^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Clark, 5/12/47. 

"'Memorandum from Clark Clifford to the President, 5/9/47. (Harry S. 
Truman Library.) 

^"'Eleanor Bontecou, The Federal Loyalty-Security Program (Ithaca : Cornell 
University Press, 1953), pp. 33-34. 

"° Memorandum from J. R. Steelman, Assistant to the President, to the Attor- 
ney General, 11/3/47. 


c. Executive Directives : Lack of Guidance and Controls 

Two public presidential statements on FBI domestic intelligence au- 
thority — by President Truman in 1950 and by President Eisenhower 
in 1953 — specifically declared that the FBI was authorized to investi- 
gate "subversive activity," electing the broader interpretation of the 
conflicting Roosevelt directives. INIoreover, a confidential directive of 
the National Security Council in 1949 granted authority to the FBI 
and military intelligence for investigation of "subvei*sive activities." 
In 1962 President Kennedy issued a confidential order shifting super- 
vision of these investigations from the NSC to the Attorney General, 
and the NSC's 1949 authorizations were reissued by Attorney General 
Kemiedy in 1964. 

As with the earlier Roosevelt directives, these statements, orders 
and authorizations failed to provide guidance on conducting or con- 
trolling "subvereive" investigations. 

Under President Truman, the Interdepartmental Intelligence Con- 
ference (IIC) ^^^ was formally authorized in 1949 to supervise 
coordination between the FBI and the military of "all investigation of 
domestic espionage, counterespionage, sabotage, subversion^ and other 
related intelligence matters affecting internal security." ^^^ [Emphasis 

The confidential Delimitations Agreement between the FBI and 

the military intelligence agencies was also revised in 1949 to require 

greater exchange of "information of mutual interest" and to require 

the FBI to advise military intelligence of developments concerning 

"subversive" groups who were "potential" dangers to the security of 
the United States.^13 

In 1950, after the outbreak of the Korean war and in the midst 
of Congressional consideration of new internal security legislation, 
Director Hoover recommended that Attorney General J. Howard 
McGrath "^ and the NSC draft a statement which President Truman 
issued in July 1950 providing that the FBI : 

should take charge of investigative work in matters relating 
to espionage, sabotage, subversive activities and related 
matters .'^'^'^ [Emphasis added.] 

"^ In a March 1949 directive on coordination of internal security President 
Truman approved tlie creation of the Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference 
("IIC"). Memorandum by J. P. Coyne, Major Chronological Developments on the 
Subject of Internal Security, 4/8/49 (Harry S. Truman Library), and NSC 
Memorandum 17/4, 3/23/49. 

"- NSC Memorandum 17/5, 6/15/49. The National Security Council was estab- 
lished by the National Security Act of 1947, which authorized the NSC to advise 
the President \\ith respect to "the integration of domestic, foreign, and military 
policies" relating to the "national security." (Section 101 of the National Se- 
curity Act of 1947.) Under this authority, the NSC then approved a secret charter 
for the ICC, composed of the FBI Director (as chairman) and the heads of the 
three military intelligence agencies. 

"^Delimitation of Investigative Duties and Agreement for Coordination, 
2/23/49. A supplementary agreement required FBI and military intelligence 
officials in the field to "maintain close personal liaison," particularly to avoid 
"duplication in . . . the use of informers." Where there was "doubt" as to whether 
another agency was interested in information, it "should be transmitted." 
(Supplemental Agreement No. 1 to the Delimitation Agreement, 6/2/49.) 

'" Letter from Attorney General :\IcGrath to Charles S. Murphy, Counsel to 
the President, 7/11/50. 

""' Statement of President Truman, 7/24/50. 


Despite concern among his assistants/^^^ President Truman's 
statement clearly placed him on the record as endorsing FBI investi- 
gations of "subversive activities." The statement said that such in- 
vestigations had been authorized initially by President Roosevelt's 
"directives" of September 1939 and January 1943. However, those 
particular directives had not used this precise language."® 

Shortly after President Eisenhower took office in 1953, the FBI 
advised the "Wliite House that its "internal security responsibility" 
went beyond "statutory" authority. The Bureau attached a copy of the 
Truman statement, but not the Roosevelt directive. The FBI again 
broadly interpreted the Roosevelt directive by saying that it had au- 
thorized "investigative work" related to "subversive activities." "' 

In December 1953 President Eisenhower issued a statement reiterat- 
ing President Truman's "directive" and extending the FBI's mandate 
to investigations under the Atomic Energy Act.^^^ 

President Kennedy issued no public statement comparable to the 
Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower "directives." However, in 1962 
he did transfer the Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference to "the 
supervision of the Attorney General ;" "^ and in 1964 Attorney General 
Robert Kennedy re-issued the IIC charter, citing as authority the 
President's 1962 order and retaining the term "subversion." The char- 
ter added that it did not "modify'' or "affect" the previous "Presi- 
dential Directives" relating to the duties of the FBI, and that the 
Delimitations Agreement between the FBI and military intelligence 
"shall remain in full force and effect." ^^° 

None of the directives, orders, or charters ])rovided any definition 
of the broad and loose terms "subversion" or "subversive activities;" 
and none of the administrations provided effective controls over the 
FBI's investigations in this area. 

3. Scope of Domestic Intelligence 
a. '■''Subversive Activities'''' 
The breadth of the FBI's investigations of "subversive activity" led 
to massive collection of information on law^ abiding citizens. FBI 
domestic intelligence investigations extended beyond Ivnown or sus- 
pected Communist Party members. They included other individuals 
who regarded the Soviet Union as the "champion of a superior way of 
life" and "persons holding important positions who have shown sym- 
pathy for Communist objectives and policies." Members of "non-Stal- 

"^^ One noted. "This is the most Inscrutable Presidential statement I've seen 

in a longr time." Another asljed, "How in H did this get out?" A third 

replied, "Don't know — I thought you were handling." Notes initialed D. Bell. 
SJS (S. J. Spingarn), and GWE (George W. Elsey), 7/24-25/50 (Elsey Papers, 
Harry S. Truman Library). Even before the statement was issued, one of these 
aides had warned the President's counsel that the Justice Department was 
attempting "an end run." [^Memorandum from G. W. Elsey to Charles S. Murphy, 
Counsel to the President, 7/12/50. (Murphv Papers, Harry S. Truman Library.)] 

™ See footnotes 19 and 22. 

"^ Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Sherman Adams, Assistant to the President, 
1/28/53, and attached memorandum on "FBI Liaison Activities," 1/26/53. 

"^ Statement of President Eisenhower, 12/15/53. 

"' National Security Action Memorandum 161, Subject : U.S. Internal Security 
Programs, 6/9/62. 

^** Memorandum from Attorney General Kennedy to J. Edgar Hoover, Chair- 
man, Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference, 3/5/64. 


inist" revolutionary socialist groups Avere investigated because, even 
though they opposed the Soviet regime, the FBI viewed them as re- 
garding the Soviet Union "as the center for world revolution." ^^^ 
Moreover, the FBI's concept of "subversive infiltration" was so broad 
that it permitted the investigation for decades of peaceful protest 
groups such as the NAACP. 

(1) The Number of Inv est i gat ions. — By 1960 the FBI had opened 
approximately 432,000 files at headquarters on individuals and groups 
in the "subversive" intelligence field. Between 1960 and 1963 an addi- 
tional 9,000 such files were opened.^"- An even larger number of in- 
vestigative files were maintained at FBI field offices.^^^ Under the 
Bureau's filing system, a single file on a group could include references 
to hundreds or thousands of group members or other persons associated 
with the group in any way ; and such names were indexed so that the 
information Avas readily retrievable. 

(2) Vague and Sioeeping Standards. — The FBI conducted continu- 
ing investigations of persons whose membership in the Communist 
Party or in "a revolutionary group" had "not been proven," but who 
had "anarchistic or revolutionary beliefs" and had "committed past 
acts of violence during strikes, riots, or demonstrations." Persons 
not currently engaged in "activity of a subversive nature" were still 
investigated if they had engaged in such activity "several years ago" 
and there was no "positive indication of disaffection." ^^^ 

The FBI Manual stated that it was "not possible to formulate any 
hard-and-fast standards" for measuring "the dangerousness of in- 
dividual members or affiliates of revolutionary organizations." Per- 
sons could be investigated if they were "espousing the line" of "rev- 
olutionary movements". Anonymous allegations could start an in- 
vestigation if they were "sufficiently specific and of sufficient weight." 
The Manual added. 

Where there is doubt an individual may be a current threat 
to the internal security of the nation, the question should 
be resolved in the interest of security and investigation 

The FBI Manual did not define "subversive" groups in terms of 
their links to a foreign government. Instead, they were "Marxist 
revolutionary-type" organizations "seeking the overthrow of the U.S. 
Government." ^^*^ One purpose of investigation was possible prosecu- 

"* Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Clark, 3/5/46. 

^^ Memorandum from the FBI to the Senate Select Committee, 10/28/75. An 
indication of the breadth of the investigations is illustrated by the fact that 
the number of files far exceeded the Bureau's estimate of the "all time high" in 
Communist Party membership which was 80.000 in 1944 and steadily declined 
thereafter. (William C. Sullivan testimony, 11/1/75, pp. 33-34.) 

^^ Report to the House Committee on the Judiciary bv the Comptroller General 
of the United States, 2/24/76, pp. 118-119. 

"* Such investigations were conducted because the Communist Party liad issued 
instructions that "sleepers" should leave the Party and go "underground," still 
maintaining secret linl^s to the Partv. (Memorandum from J. F. Bland to A. H. 
Belmont, 7/30/58. ) 

"Refu.«al to cooperate" with an FBI agent's interview was "taken into con- 
sideration along with other facts" in determining whether to continue the in- 
vestigation. (Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Deputy Attorney General 
Peyton P^ord, 6/28/51.) 

^^ 1960 FBI Manual Section 87, p. 5. 

^ 1960 FBI Manual Section 87, p. 5. 


tion under the Smitli Act. But no prosecutions were initiated under 
tlie Act after 1957.^-' The Justice Department advised the FlU in 
1956 that such a prosecution required "an actual plan for a violent 
revolution." ^-^ The Department's position in 1960 was that "incite- 
ment to action in the foreseeable future'- was needed. ^-^ Despite the 
strict requirements for prosecution, the FBI continued to investigate 
"subversive" organizations "from an intelligence viewpoint" to ap- 
praise their "strength"' and "dangerousness." ^^° 

(3) COMINFIL.— The FBI's broadest program for collecting intel- 
ligence was carried out under the heading COMINFIL, or Communist 
infiltration."^ The FBI collected intelligence about Comnnmist "in- 
fluence" under the following categories : 

Political activities 

Legislative activities 

Domestic administration issues 

Negro question 

Youth matters 

Women's matters 

Farmers' JNIatters 

Cultural activities 

Veterans' matters 



Industry ^^^ 

FBI investigations covered "the entire spectrum of the social and 
labor movement in the country." ^^^ The purpose — as publicly disclosed 
in the Attorney General's Annual Reports — was pure intelligence: 
to "fortify" the Government against "subversive pressures,'' "^ or to 
"strengthen" the Government against "subA^ersive campaigns." "^ 

In other words, the COISIINFIL program supplied the Attorney 
General and the President with intelligence about a wide range of 
groups seeking to influence national policy under the rationale of de- 
termining whether Communists were involved."^ The FBI said it was 
not concerned with the "legitimate activities" of "nonsubversive 
groups," but only with whether Communists were "gaining a dominant 

*^ The Supreme Court's last decision upholding a Smith Act conviction was 
Scales V. United States, 367 U.S. 203 (1961), which reiterated that there must 
he "advocacy of action." See Yates v. United States, 354 U.S. 298 (1957). 

^^ Memorandum from Assistant Attornev General Tompkins to Director, FBI, 

^^ Memorandum from Assistant Attornev General Yeagley to Director, FBI, 

"» 1960 FBI Manual-Section 87, p. 5. 

"' 1960 FBI Manual Section 87, pp. 83-84. 

'"- 1960 FBI Manual Section 87, pp. 5-11. 

^■" Annual Report of the Attorney General for Fiscal Year 1955, p. 195. 

'^ Annual Report for 1958, p. 338. 

'^ Annual Report for 1964, p. 375. 

^^ (Examples of such reports to the White House are set forth later, pp. 51- 
53.) The Chief of the Internal Security Section of the FBI Intelligence Divi- 
sion in 1948-1966 testified that the Bureau "had to he certain" tliat a group's 
position did not coincide with the Communist line "just hy accident." The FBI 
would not "open a case" until it had "specific infoi-mation" that "the Communists 
were there" and were "influencing" the group to "assist the Communist move- 
ment." (F. .1. Baumgardner testimony, 10/8/75 p. 47.) 


role." ^^'^ Nevertheless, COMINFIL reports inevitably described 
"leg-itiinate activities" totally unrelated to the alleged "subversive ac- 
tivity." This is vividly demonstrated by the COMINFIL reports on 
American's leading civil rights group in this period, the NAACP.^^* 
The investigation continued for at least twenty-five years in cities 
throughout the nation, although no evidence was ever found to rebut 
the observation that the NAACP had a ''strong tendency" to "steer 
clear of Connnunist activities." "^ 

(4) Exaggeration of Comnuinist Infuence. — The FBI and the Jus- 
tice Department justified the continuation of COiNlINFIL investiga- 
tions, despite the Communist Party's steady decline in the fifties and 
early sixities, on the theory that the Party was "seeking to repair its 
losses" with the "hope" of being able to "move in" on movements with 
"laudable objectives." "° 

The FBI reported to the White House in 1961 that the Communist 
Party had "attempted" to take advantage of "racial disturbances" in 
the South and had "endeavored" to bring "pressure to bear" on gov- 
ernment officials "through the press, labor unions, and student groups." 
At that time the FBI was investigating "two hundred known or sus- 
pected communist front and communist-infiltrated organizations." ^^^ 
By not stating how effective the "attempts" and "endeavors" of the 
Communists were, and by not indicating whether they were becoming 
more or less successful, the FBI offered a deficient rationale for its 
sweeping intelligence collection policy. 

William C. Sullivan, a former head of the FBI Intelligence Division, 
has testified that such language was deliberately used to exaggerate 
the threat of Communist influence. "Attempts" and "influence" were 
"very significant words" in FBI reports, he said. These terms obscured 
what he felt to be the more significant criterion — the degree of Com- 
munist success. The Bureau "did not discuss this because we would 
have to say that they did not hit the target, hardly any." ^^- 

A distorted picture of Communist "infiltration" later served to just- 
ify the FBI's intensive investigations of the groups involved in protests 
against the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement, including Dr. 
Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Con- 

^" Annual Report for 1955, p. 195. 

138 YoY more detailed discussion of the FBI investigations of the NAACP and 
other civil rights groups see the Report on the Development of FBI Domestic 
Intelligence Investigations. 

*=* Report of Oklahoma City Field Office, 9/19/41. This report continued: 
"Nevertheless, there is a strong movement on the part of the Communists to at- 
tempt to dominate this group . . . Consequently, the activities of the NAACP will 
be closely observed and scrutinized in the future." [Emphasis added.] This stress 
on Communist "attempts" rather than their actual achievements is typical of 
COMINFIL reports. The annual reiwrts on the FBI's COMINFIL investigation 
of the NAACP indicate that the Communists consistently failed in these "at- 
tempts" at the national level, although the Bureau took credit for using covert 
tactics to prevent a Communist takeover of a major NAACP chapter. (Letter 
from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General-elect Robert F. Kennedy. 1/10/61 
attached memorandum, subject: Communist Party. T'SA-FBI Counterattack.) 

""Annual Report of the Attorney General for Fiscal Year 1959, pp. 247-24S. 

""^ Memorandum from .T. Edgar Hoover, Chairman. Interdepartmental Intel- 
ligence Conference, to McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant to the President for 
National Security, 7/25/61, enclosing IIC Report, Status of U.S. Internal Security 

''= William C. Sullivan testimony, 11/1/75, pp. 40-41. 

68-786 O - 76 - 5 


h. '■'■Racial Matters'''' and '■'■Hate Groups''' 

In the 1950s, tlie FBI also developed intelligence programs to inves- 
tigate "Eacial Matters" and "hate organizations'' unrelated to "revolu- 
tionary-type" subversives. "Hate organizations" were investigated if 
they had "allegedly adopted a policy of advocating, condoning, or in- 
citing the use of force or violence to deny others their rights under the 
Constitution." Like the COINIINFIL program, however, the Bureau 
used its "established sources" to monitor the activities of "hate groups" 
Avhich did not "qualify" under the "advocacy of violence" standard. ^"^^ 

In 1963, FBI field offices were instructed to report "the formation 
and identities" of "rightist or extremist groups" in the "anticommunist 
field." Headquarters approval was needed for investigating "groups 
in this field whose activities are not in violation of any statutes." ^^^ 

Under these programs, the FBI collected and disseminated intelli- 
gence about the John Birch Society and its founder, Kobert Welch, 
in 1959.^*^ The activities of another right-wing spokesman, Gerald 
L. K. Smith, who headed the Christian Nationalist Crusade, were 
the subject of FBI reports even after the Justice Department had 
concluded that the group had not violated federal law and that there 
was no basis for including the group on the "Attorney General's 
list." "« 

The FBI program for collecting intelligence on "General Racial 
Matters" was even broader. It went beyond "race riots" to include 
"civil demonstrations" and "similar developments." These "develop- 
ments" included : 

proposed or actual activities of individuals, officials, commit- 
tees, legislatures, organizations, etc., in the racial field.^*^ 

The FBI's "intelligence function" w^as to advise "appropriate" fed- 
eral and local officials of "pertinent information" about "racial inci- 
dents." ^*« 

A briefing of the Cabinet by Director Hoover in 1956 illustrates 
the breadth of collection and dissemination under the racial matters 
program. The briefing covered not only incidents of violence and the 
"efforts" and "plans" of Communists to "influence" the civil rights 
movement, but also the legislative strategy of the NAACP and the 
activities of Southern Governors and Congressmen on behalf of groups 
opposing integration peacefully."^ 

"' I960 FBI Manual Section 122, p. 1. 

^^ SAC Letter No. 63-27, 6/11/63. 

^^'The FBI has denied that it ever conducted a "security-type investigation" 
of the Birch Society or Welcli, but states the Boston field office "was instructed 
in 1959 to obtain background data" on Welch using public sources. (Memoran- 
dum from the FBI to the Senate Select Committee, 2/10/76.) A 1963 internal 
FBI memorandum stated that the Bureau "checked into the background of the 
Birch Society because of its scurrilous attack on President Eisenhower and 
other high Government ofiicials." (Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to 
W. C. Sullivan, 5/29/63.) Reports were sent to the White House, see footnote 164. 

^** Letter from Assistant Attorney General Tompkins to Sherman Adams, 
Assistant to the President, 11/22/54; letters from .1. Edgar Hoover to Robert 
Cutler, Special Assistant to the President, 10/15/57, and 1/17/58. (Eisenhower 

"• 1960 FBI Manual Section 122, pp. 5-6. 

"" 1960 FBI Manual Section 122, pp. 5-6. 

"" "Racial Tensions and C\x\\ Rights," 3/1/56, statement used by the FBI 
Director at Cabinet briefing, 3/9/56. 


c. FBI Political Intelligence for the White House 

Numerous items of political intelligence were supplied by the FBI 
to the White House in each of the three administrations during the 
Cold War era, apparently satisfying the desires of Presidents and 
their staffs.^^o 

President Truman and his aides received regular letters from Di- 
rector Hoover labeled "Personal and Confidential" containing tidbits 
of political intelligence. The lettei-s reported on such subjects as: 
inside information about the negotiating position of a non-Commu- 
nist labor union; ^^^ the activities of a former Roosevelt aide who was 
trying to influence the Truman administration's appointments; ^^" a 
report from a "confidential source" that a "scandal" was brcAving which 
would be "very embarrassing" to the Democratic administration; ^^^ a 
report from a "very confidential source" about a meeting of news- 
paper representatives in Chicago to plan publication of stories expos- 
ing organized crime and corrupt politicians ; ^^^ the contents of an 
in-house communication from lYeicsiceek magazine reporters to their 
editors about a story they had obtained from the State Department,^^'* 
and criticism of the government's internal security programs by a 
former Assistant to the Attorney General."^ 

Letters discussing Communist "influence" provided a considerable 
amount of extraneous information about the legislative process, in- 
cluding lobbying activities in support of civil rights legislation ^^' and 
the political activities of Senators and Congressmen.^^^ 

President Eisenhower and his aides received similar tid-bits of po- 
litical intelligence, including an advance text of a speech to be deliv- 
ered by a prominent labor leader,^^^ reports from Bureau "sources" on 
the meetings of an NAACP delegation with Senators Paul Douglas 
and Everett Dirksen of Illinois; ^'^" the report of an "informant" on 
the role of the United Auto Workers Union at an NAACP confer- 
ence,^^^ summaries of data in FBI files on thirteen persons (including 
Norman Thomas, Linus Pauling, and Bertrand Russell) who had filed 
suit to stop nuclear testing,^*'- a report of a "confidential source" on 
plans of jNIrs. Eleanor Roosevelt to hold a reception for the head of 

^^° See p. 37 for discussion of White House wiretap requests in 1945-1948. 

^^ Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to George E. Allen, Director, Reconstruction 
Finance Corporation, 12/13/46. (Harry S. Truman Library.) 

^^ Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Maj. Gen. Harry H. Vaughn, Military Aide 
to the President, 2/15/47. (Harry S. Truman Librai'y.) 

^^ Letter from Hoover to Vaughn, 6/25/47. (Harry S. Truman Library.) 

^^ Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Matthew J. Connelly, Secretary to the Presi- 
dent, 1/27/50. (Harry S. Truman Library.) 

^^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Clark, 4/1/46. 
(Harry S. Truman Library.) 

^'* Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Maj. Gen. Harry H. Vaughn, Military Aide 
to the Pre.sident, 11/13/47. (Harry S. Truman Library.) 

^" Letters from J. Edgar Hoover to Brig. Gen. Harry H. Vaughn, Military Aide 
to the President, 1/11/46 and 1/17/46. (Harry S. Truman Library.) 

"' Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to George E. Allen, Director, Reconstruction 
Finance Corporation, 5/29/49. (Harry S. Truman Library.) 

^ letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Dillon Anderson, Special Assistant to the 
President, 4/21/55. (Eisenhower Library.) 

"" Letter from Hoover to Anderson, 3/6/56. (Eisenhower Library.) 

"^ Letter from Hoover to Anderson, 3/5/56. (Eisenhower Library.) 

^*" Letter from .T. Edgar Ploover to Dillon Anderson, Special Assistant to the 
President, 4/11/58. (Eisenhower Library.) 


a civil rights group/^^ and reports on the activities of Robert Welch 
and the John Birch Society.^*^'* 

The FBI also volunteered to the White House information from its 
most '"reliable sources" on purely political or social contacts with for- 
eign government officials by a iDeputy Assistant to the President/*'^ 
Bernard Baruch/'^'^ Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas/''' 
and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt.^*'® 

Director Hoover sent to the White House a report from a "confiden- 
tial informant" on the lobbying activities of a California group called 
Women for Legislative Action because its positions "paralleled" the 
Communist line."'^ 

As in the prior administrations, requests also flowed from the Eisen- 
hower White House to the FBI.^'° For example, a presidential aide 
asked the FBI to check its files on Rev. Carl Mclntyre of the Inter- 
national Council of Christian Churches.^'^ 

The pattern continued during the Kennedy administration. A sum- 
mary of material in FBI files on a prominent entertainer was volun- 
teered to Attorney General Kennedy because Hoover thought it "may 
be of interest." ^^^ Attorney General Kennedy sent to the President an 
FBI memorandum on the purely ]:)ersonal life of Dr. ISIartin Luther 
King, Jr.^'^ Dii'ector Hoover supplied Attorney General Kennedy with 
background information on a woman who told an Italian newspaper 
that she had once been engaaed to marry President Kennedv ^'* and on 
the husband of a woman who was reported in the press to have stated 
that the President's daughter would enroll in a coopei'ative nursery 
with which she was connected."^ The FBI Director also passed on 

"' Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Robert Cutler, Special Assistant to the 
President, 2/13/58. (Eisenhower Library.) The group was described as the 
"successor" to a group cited by the House Un-American Activities Committee 
as a "communist front." 

^^ Letters from .T. Edgar Hoover to Gordon Gray, Special Assistant to the 
President, 9/11/59 and 9/16/59. 

^"^ Letter from Hoover to Cutler, 6/6/58. (Eisenhower Library). Tliis involved 
contact with a foreign official whose later contacts with U.S. officials were reported 
by the FBI under the Kennedy Administration in connection with the "sugar 
lobby," see pp. 64-65. 

^'"' Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Dillon Anderson, Special Assistant to the 
President, 11/7/55. (Eisenhower Library.) 

^°" Letters from J. Edgar Hoover to Robert Cutler, Administrative Assistant 
to the President, 4/21/53 and 4/27/53. (Eisenhower Library.) 

^"^ Letter from Hoover to Cutler, 10/1/57. (Ei.senhower Library.) 

^** Letter from Hoover to Gray, 11/9/59. (Eisenhower Library.) Hoover added 
that membership in the group "does not, of itself, connote membership in or 
sympathy with the Communist Party." 

"° Requests under the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, including wire- 
tap requests, are discussed at pp. .33 and 37. 

^^ Letter from .1. Edgar Hoover to Thomas E. Stephens, Secretary to the 
President, 4/13/54. (Eisenhower Library.) 

"^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to R. F. Kennedy, 2/10/61, "Personal." 
(John F. Kennedy Library.) 

™ Memorandum from the Attorney General to the President, 8/20/63, attach- 
ing memorandum from Hoover to Deputy Attorney General Katzenbach, 8/13/63. 
(John F. Kennedy Library.) 

"* Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to R. F. Kennedy, 2/6/61, "Personal." 
(John F. Kennedy Library.) 

"^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to R. F. Kennedy, 2/8/61, "Personal." 
(John F. Kennedy Library.) 


information from a Bureau "source" regarding plans of a group to 
publish allei>ations about the Pi-esident's personal life.^"*' 

In 1962 the FBI complied unquestioningly with a request from At- 
torney General Kennedy to interview a Steel Company executive and 
several reporters who had written stories about the Steel executive. 
The interviews were conducted late at night and early in the morning 
because, according to the responsible FBI official, the Attorney Gen- 
eral indicated the information was needed for a White House meeting 
the next day.^" 

Throughout the period, the Bureau also disseminated reports to 
high executive officials to discredit its critics. The FBI's inside infor- 
mation on plans of the Lawyers Guild to denounce Bureau surveil- 
lance in 1949 gave the Attorney General the opportunity to prepare a 
rebuttal well in advance of the expected criticism. ^'^ AAHien the Knox- 
ville Area Human Relations Council charged in 1960 that the FBI was 
practicing racial discrimination, the FBI did "name checks'" on mem- 
ber of the Council's board of directors and sent the results to the At- 
torney General. The name checks dredged up derogatory allegations 
from as far back as the late thirties and early forties.^'" 

d. IRS Investigations of Political Organizations 
The lES program that came to be used against the domestic dissi- 
dents of the 1960s was first used against Communists in the 1950s. 
As part of its COINTELPRO against the Communist Party, the 
FBI arranged for IRS investigations of Pai'ty members, and ob- 
tained their tax returns.^^° In its efforts against the Connnunist Party, 
the FBI had unlimited access to tax returns : it never told the IRS why 
it wanted them, and IRS never attempted to find out.^^^ 

In 1961, responding to White House and congressional interest in 
right-wing organizations, the IRS began comprehensive investiga- 
tions of right-wing groups to identify contributors and ascertain 
whether or not some of them were entitled to their tax exempt status.^^^ 
Left-wing groups were later added, in an effort to avoid charges that 
such IRS activities were all aimed at one part of the political spectrum. 
Both right- and left-wing groups were selected for review and investi- 
gation because of their political activity and not because of any infor- 
mation that they had violated the tax laws.^^^ 

While the IRS efforts begun in 1961 to investigate the political 
activities of tax exempt organizations were not as extensive as later 

""Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to R. F. Kennedy, 11/20/63. (John F. 
Kennedy Library.) 

^" Memorandum from Attorney General Kennedy to the President, 4/12/62 en- 
closing memorandum from Director. FBI, to the Attorney General, 4/12/62 ; 
testimony of Courtney Evans, former Assistant Director, FBI, 12/l/7r>, p. .39. 

"" Letter from Attorney General McGrath to President Truman, 12/7/49 ; letter 
from J. Edgar Hoover to Maj. Gen. Harry H. Vaughn, Military Aide to the Presi- 
dent, 1/14/50. 

^™ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General William P. Rogers, 

'** Memorandum from A. H. Belmont to L. V. Boardman, 8/28/56, p. 4. 

'"^ Leon Green testimony, 9/12/75, pp. 6-8. 

^*'' Memorandum, William Loeb, Assistant Commissioner, Compliance to Dem. 
J. Barron, Director of Audit, 11/30/61. 

^^ Memorandum, Attorney Assistant to Commis.sion to Director, IRS Audit 
Division, 4/2/62. 


programs in 1969-1973, they were a significant departure by the IRS 
from normal enforcement criteria for investigating persons or groups 
on the basis of information indicating noncompliance. By directing 
tax audits at individuals and groups solely because of their political 
beliefs, the Ideological Organizations Audit Project (as the 1961 pro- 
gram was known )^^* established a precedent for a far more elaborate 
program of targeting "dissidents." ^^^ 

Jf. AccountdbiUty and Control 

During the Cold War period, there were serious weaknesses in the 
system of accountability and control of domestic intelligence activity. 
On occasion the executive chose not to comply with the will of Congress 
with respect to internal security policy ; and the Congressional attempt 
to exclude U.S. foreign intelligence agencies from domestic activities 
was evaded. Intelligence agencies also conducted covert programs in 
violation of laws protecting the rights of Americans. Problems of ac- 
countability were compounded by the lack of effective congressional 
oversight and the vagueness of executive orders, which allowed intelli- 
gence agencies to escape outside scrutiny. 

a. The Emergency Detention Act 
In 1946, four years before the Emergency Detention Act of 1950 
was passed, the FBI advised Attorney General Clark that it had 
secretly compiled a security index of "potentially dangerous'' per- 
sons. "'^ The Justice Department then made tentative plans for emer- 
gency detention based on suspension of the privilege of the writ of 
habeas corpus.^^^ Department officials deliberately avoided going to 
Congress, advising the FBI in a "blind men:iorandum :" 

The present is no time to seek legislation. To ask for it would 
only bring on a loud and acrimonious discussion.^^^ 

In 1950, however. Congress passed the Emergency Detention Act 
which established standards and procedures for the detention, in the 
event of war, invasion or insurrection "in aid of a foreign enemy," of 
any person : 

as to whom there is reasonable ground to believe that such 
person probably will engage in, or probably will conspire with 
others to engage in, acts of espionage or sabotage. 

The Act did not authorize the suspension of the privilege of the writ 
of habeas corpus, and it provided that detained persons could appeal to 
a review board and to the courts. ^^® 

Shortly after passage of the Detention Act, according to a Bureau 
document. Attorney General J. Howard McGrath told the FBI to 

'** IRS referred to it as Tax Political Action Groups Project. It was apparently 
labeled as above by the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation. 

^^' See pp. 94—96 for discussion of later IRS programs. 

'^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Clark, 3/8/46. See 
footnote 67 for the origins of the Security Index in contravention of Attorney 
General Biddle's policy. 

^^ Memorandum from Assistant Attorney General T. L. Caudle to Attorney Gen- 
eral Clark, 7/11/46. 

^^^ Quoted in internal FBI memorandum from D. M. Ladd to J. Edgar Hoover, 

'"* Internal Security Act of 1950, Title II— Emergency Detention, 64 Stat. 987 


disregard it and to "proceed with the program as previously outlined." 
Department officials stated that the Act was "in conflict with" their 
plans, and was "unworkable." FBI officials agreed that the statutory 
procedures — such as "recourse to the courts" instead of suspension of 
habeas corpus — would "destroy" their program.^'"^ ]\Ioreover, the Secu- 
rity Index used broader standards to determine "potential danger- 
ousness" than those pi-escribed in the statute; and, unlike the Act, 
Department plans provided for issuing a Master Search Warrant and 
a Master Arrest Warrant. ^^^ Two subsequent Attorneys General 
endorsed the decision to ignore the Emergency Detention Act.^^- 

h. Withholding Information 
Xot only did tlie FBI and the Justice Department jointly keep their 
noncompliance with the Detention Act secret from Congress, but the 
FBI withheld important aspects of its program from the Attorney 
General. FBI personnel had been instructed in 1949 that: 

no mention must be made in any investigative report relating 
to the classifications of top functionaries and key figures, nor 
to the Detcom and Comsab Programs, nor to the Security 
Index or the Communist Index. These investigative proce- 
dures and administrative aides are confidential and should 
not be known to any outside agency.^^^ 

FBI documents indicate that only the Security Index was made known 
to the Justice Dei)artment. 

In 1955, the FBI tightened formal standards for the Security Index, 
reducing its size from 26,174 to 12,870 by 1958.^^* However, there is no 
indication that the FBI told the Department that it kept the names of 
persons taken off the Security Index on a Communist Index, because 
the Bureau believed such persons remained "potential threats." ^^^"^ 
The secret Communist Index was renamed the Eeserve Index in 1960 
and expanded to include "influential" persons deemed likely to "aid 
subversive elements'' in an emergency because of their "subversive as- 
sociations and ideology." Such individuals fell under the following 
categories : 

Professors, teachers, and educators; labor union organizers 
and leaders; Avriters, lecturers, newsmen and others in the 
mass media field; lawyers, doctors, and scientists; other po- 
tentially influential persons on a local or national level ; indi- 
viduals who could potentially furnish financial or material 

'*' Memorandum from A. H. Belmont to D. M. Ladd, 10/15/52. 

"' Memoi-andum from D. M. Ladd to .7. Edgar Hoover, 11/13/52. 

^^- Memorandum from Attorney General James McGranery to J. Edgar Hoover. 
11/2.5/52; memorandum from Attorney General Herbert Brownell to J. Edgar 
Hoover, 4/27/53. 

^^ SAC Letter No. 97, Series 1949, 10/19/49. Field offices gave special attention 
to "key figixres" and "top functionaries" of the Communist Party. The "Comsab" 
program concentrated on potential Communist saboteurs, and the "Detcom" pro- 
gram was the FBI's own "priority arrest" list. The Communist Index was "a com- 
prehensive compilation of individuals of interest to the internal security." 

^" Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Brownell. 3/9/55 ; 
memorandum from .1. F. Bland to A. H. Belmont, 7/30/58. 

^^*^ Memorandum from A. H. Belmont to L. V. Boardman, 1/14/55. 


Persons on the Reserve Index would receive "priority consideration" 
for "action'' after detention of Security Index subjects. The breadth 
of this list is illustrated by the inclusion of the names of author 
Norman Mailer and a professor who merely praised the Soviet Union 
to his class.^'*^ 

In addition to keeping these programs secret, the FBI withheld 
information about espionage from the Justice Department on at least 
two occasions. In 1946 the FBI had "identified over 100 persons'' whom 
it "suspected of being in the Government Communist Underground." 
Neither this number nor any names from this list were given to the 
Department because Director Hoover feared "leaks," and because the 
Bureau conceded in its internal documents that it did "not have 
evidence, whether admissible or otherwise, reflecting actual member- 
ship in the Communist Party." ^^^ Thus the Bureau's "suspicions" were 
not tested by outside review by the Justice Department and the investi- 
gations could continue. In 1951 the FBI again withheld from the 
Department names of certain espionage subjects "for security reasons," 
since disclosure "would destroy chances of penetration and control." ^^'^ 

Even the President's Temporary Commission on Employee Loyalty 
could not get highly relevant information from the Bureau. FBI As- 
sistant Director D. M. Ladd told the Commission in 1946 that there 
was a "substantial" amount of Communist "infiltration of the gov- 
ernment." But Ladd declined to answer when Commission members 
asked for more details of FBI intelligence operations and the infor- 
mation which served as the basis for his characterization of the ex- 
tent of infiltration. ^^^ The Commission prepared a list of questions for 
the FBI and asked that Director Hoover appear in person. Instead, 
Attornej^ General Clark made an "informal'' appearance and supplied 
a memorandum stating that the number of "subversives" in govern- 
ment had "not yet reached serious proportions,'' but that the possibility 
of "even one disloyal person" in government service constituted a 
"serious threat." ^^^ Thus, the President's Commission chose not to 
insist upon making a serious evaluation of FBI intelligence operations 
or the extent of the danger. 

The record suggests that executive officials were forced to make de- 
cisions regarding security policy without full knowledge. They had 
to depend on the FBI's estimate of the problem, rather than being 
able to make their ovv^n assessment on the basis of complete informa- 
tion. It is also apparent that by this time outside officials were some- 
times unwilling to oppose Director Hoover or to inquire fully into FBI 

c. CIA Domestic Activity 
(1) Vague Controls on CIA. — The vagueness of Congress's pro- 
hibitions of "internal security functions" by the CIA left room for the 

^°° Memorandum from A. H. Belmont to Mr. Parsons, 6/3/60. 

^"' Memorandum from D. M. Ladd to J. Edgar Hoover, 9/5/46 ; memorandum 
from Hoover to Attorney General Clark, 9/5/46. 

^®' Memorandum from A. H. Belmont to D. M. Ladd. 4/17/51. 

"* Minutes of the President's Temporary Commission on Employee Loyalty, 
1/17/47. (Harry S. Truman Library.) 

^M Memorandum from Attorney General Clark to Mr. Vanecli, Chairman, Presi- 
dent's Temporary Commission, 2/14/47. (Tiiiman Library.) 

"'"' See finding (G) for a full discussion of the problem of FBI accountability. 


Agency's subsequent domestic activity. A restriction against "police, 
law enforcement or internal security functions" first appeared in 
President Truman's order establishing the Central Intelligence Group 
in 1946.-°^ 

General Vandenburg, then Director of Central Intelligence, testified 
in 1947 that this restriction was intended to "draw the lines very 
sharply between the CIG and the FBI" and to "assure that the Central 
Intelligence Group can never become a Gestapo or security police." -°- 
Secretary of tlie Navy ,Tames Forrestal testified that the CIA would be 
"limited definitely to purposes outside of this country, except the col- 
lection of information gathered by other government agencies." The 
FBI would be relied upon "for domestic activities." ^°^ 

In the House floor debate Congressman Holifield stressed that the 
work of the CIA : 

is strictly in the field of secret foreign intelligence — what is 
known as clandestine intelligence. They have no right in the 
domestic field to collect information of a clandestine military 
nature. They can evaluate it; yes."°^ 

Consequentlv, the National Security Act of 1947 provided specifically 
that the CIA 

shall have no police, subpoena, law-enforcement powers, or 
internal security functions.^"^ 

However, the 1947 Act also contained a vague and undefined duty to 
protect intelligence "sources and methods" which later was used to 
justify domestic activities ranging from electronic surveillance and 
break-ins to penetration of protest groups.^"** 

(2) Drug Testing and Cover Programs. — In the early 1950s, the 
CIA began a program of surreptitiously testing chemical and biologi- 
cal materials, which included drug testing on unwitting Americans. 
The existence of such a program was kept secret because, as the CIA's 
Inspector General wrote in 1957, it was necessary to "protect oper- 
ations from exposure" to "the American public" as well as "enemy 
forces." Public knowledge of the CIA's "unethical and illicit activ- 
ities" was thought likely to have serious "political repercussions." -°^ 
CIA drug experimentors disregarded instmctions of their superiors 
within the Agency and failed to take "reasonable precautions" when 

''^ Presidential Directive, Coordination of Federal Foreign Intelligence Activi- 
ties, 1/22/46, 11 Fed. Reg. 1337. Fears that a foreign intelligence agency would 
intrude into domestic matters went back to 1944, when General William Dono- 
van, head of the Office of Strategic Services (the CIA's wartime predecessor) 
proposed that OSS be transformed from a wartime basis to a permanent "central 
intelligence service." Donovan's plan was leaked to the Chicago Tribune, al- 
legedly by FBI Director Hoover, and it was denounced as a "super spy system" 
which would "pry into the lives of citizens at home." [Corey Ford, Donovan of 
the OSS (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970), pp. 303-304.] 

-® Hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee on S. 758, 80th Cong. 
(1947), p. 497. 

-'"' Hearings before the House Committee on Expenditures in the Executive 
Departments on H.R. 2319, 80th Cong. (1947), p. 127. 

'°*93 Cong. Rec. 9430 (1947). 

^'^ 50 U.S.C. 403(d) (3). 

'"'^ See pp. 102-103. 

^"'Inspector General's Report on the Technical Services Division, Central 
Intelligence Agency, 1957. 


they undertook the test which resulted in the death of Dr. Frank 

The CIA made extensive use of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dan- 
gerous Drugs in conducting its program of drug testing on unwitting 

Military intelligence also administered drugs to volunteer subjects 
who were unaware of the purpose or nature of the tests in which they 
were participating.-"^ 

The CIA's drug research was conducted in part through arrange- 
ments with universities, hospitals, and "private research organiza- 
tions" in a manner which concealed "from the institution the interests 
of the CIA," although "key individuals" were made witting of Agency 
sponsorship.^^" There were similar covert relationships with American 
private institutions in other CIA intelligence activities.^" 

5. Intrusive Techniques 

Throughout the cold war period, the intelligence agencies used 
covert techniques which invaded personal privacy to execute their 
vague, uncontrolled, and overly broad mandate to collect intelligence. 
Intelligence techniques were not properly controlled by responsible 
authorities; some of the techniques were misused by senior adminis- 
tration officials. On the other hand, the nature of the programs — 
and, in some cases, their very existence — was often concealed from 
those authorities. 

a. C onvmunications Interception: CIA and NSA 
During the 1950s the Central Intelligence Agency instituted a 
major program for opening mail between the United States and the 
Soviet Union as it passed through postal facilities in New York 
City.-^^ Two other short-tenn CIA projects in the fifties also involved 
the opening of international mail within the United States, through 
access to Customs Service facilities.-" Moreover, in the late 1940s the 
Department of Defense made ai-rangements with several communi- 
cations companies to receive international cable traffic, reinstating a 
relationship that had existed during World War 11.^^* These pro- 
grams violated not only the ban on internal security functions by 
foreign intelligence agencies in the 1947 Act, but also specific statutes 
protecting the privacy of the mails and forbidding the interception of 

^' Memorandum from the CIA General Counsel to the Inspector General, 

""* U.S. Army Intelligence Center Staff Study : Material Testing Program EA 
1729, 10/15/59. 

^^ CIA Inspector General's Report, 1963. 

-" This issue is examined more fully in the Committee's Report on Foreign 
and Military Intelligence Activities. 

-^ Memorandum from James Angleton, Chief, Counterintelligence Staff, to 
Chief of Operations, 11/21/55 (attachment). 

^CIA Memorandum re: Project SETTER, undated (New Orleans) ; Memo- 
randum from "Identity #13" to Deputy Director of Security, 10/9/57 (New 
Orleans) ; Rockefeller Commission Staff Summary of CIA Office Officer Interview, 
3/18/75 (Hawaii). 

"^* Robert Andrews, Special Assistant to the General Counsel, Department of 
Defense, testimony, 9/23/75, pp. 34-10. 

=^^18 U.S.C. 1701-1703 (mail); 47 U.S.C. 605 (Federal Communications Act 
of 1934). 


AVliile their original purpose was to obtain foreign intelligence, the 
programs frequently did not distinguish between the messages of for- 
eigners and of Americans.'-^*^ Furthermore, by the late fifties and early 
sixties, the CIA and NSA were sharing the "take" with the FBI for 
domestic intelligence purposes.^^" 

In this period, the CIA opened mail to and from the Soviet Union 
largely at random, intercepting letters of Americans unrelated to for- 
eign intelligence or counterintelligence.^^* After the FBI learned of 
the CIA program, it levied requests in certain categories. Apart from 
foreign counterintelligence criteria, the Bureau expressed interest 
in letters from citizens professing "pro-Communist sympathies" ^^^ 
and "data re U.S. peace groups going to Russia." -^° 

The secret arrangements with cable companies to obtain copies of in- 
ternational traffic were initially authorized by Secretary of Defense 
James Forrestal and Attorney General Tom Clark, although it is not 
clear that they knew of the interception of American as well as foreign 
messages.--^ They developed no formal legal rationale, and their later 
successors were never consulted to renew the authorization. ^-'- 

The CIA sought no outside authorization before instituting its mail 
opening program. Several Post Office officials were misled into believ- 
ing that the CIA's request for access to the mail only involved examing 
the exterior of the envelopes.-^^ President Kennedy's Postmaster Gen- 
eral, J. Edward Day, testified that he told CIA Director Allen Dulles 
he did not want to "know anything about" what the CIA was doing.^^* 
Beyond undocumented assumptions by (TA officials, there is no evi- 
dence tliat the President or the Attorney General was ever informed 
about any aspect of CIA mail-opening operations in this period.^^^ 

-^^ CIA memoTanduui "For the Record" from Thomas B. Abernarhy, S/21/61 ; 
Dr. Ix)uis Tordella, former Deputy Director, National Security Agency, testimony 
10/21/75, pp. 17-20. 

-" High FBI officials decided to use the CIA mail opening program for "our 
internal security objectives'' in 1958. They did not want the Bureau to "assume 
this coverage" itself because its "sensitive nature" created "inherent dangers" 
and due to its "complexity, size, and expense." Instead, the Bureau would hold 
CIA "responsible to share their coverage with us." (Memorandum from A. H. Bel- 
mont to Mr. Boardman, 1/22/58.) The initial FBI request to XSA involved "com- 
mercial and personal communications between persons in Cuba and the United 
States." (Memorandum from W. R. Wannall to W. C. Sullivan, Assistant Director, 
Domestic Intelligence Division, 5/18/62. ) 

^^^ Abernathy memorandum, 8/21/61. 

^^ Memorandum from W. A. Branigan to W. C. Sullivan (attachment). 8/21/61. 

=^ Memorandum from W. A. Branigan to W. C. Sullivan, 2/15/62. 

■^ Select Committee Memorandum, Subject : Review of Documents at DOD Re- 
garding LP MEDLEY, 9/17/75. ("LP MEDLEY" was the CIA's codename for 
this program ; the XSA codename was SHAMROCK.) 

"~ Secretary Forrestal's immediate successor, Louis Johnson, renewed the ar- 
rangement in 1949. To the knowledge of those interviewed by the Committee, this 
was the last instance in which the companies raised any question as tO' the 
authority for the arrangements. (Andrews, 9/23/75. pp. 34, 40.) 

"^ Richard Helms Testimony, 10/22/75, Hearings, Vol. 4, p. 84. Memorandum 
from Richard Helms to Sheffield Edwards, Director of Security, 5/17/54. 

"^ J. Edward Day Testimony, 10/22/75, Hearings, Vol. 4. p. 45. However, a 
contemporaneous CIA memorandum .stated that "no relevant details" were with- 
held from Day when lie was Itriefed in 1961 by CIA officials. (Memorandum from 
Richard Helms to Deputy Chief of the Counterintelligence Staff, 2/16/61.) 

-'-' Helms, 10/22/75, Hearings, Vol. 4, pp. 87-89. 


6. FBI Covert Techniques 

( 1 ) Electronic SurveiUance. 

{a) The Question of Authority : In 1946 Attorney General Tom 
Clark asked President Truman to renew the authorization for war- 
rantless wiretapping issued by President Roosevelt in 1940. Clark's 
memorandum, however, did not refer to the portion of the Roosevelt 
directive which said wiretaps should be limited "insofar as possible 
to aliens." It stressed the danger from "subversive activity here at 
home," and requested authority to wiretap "in cases vitally affecting 
the domestic security," -^^^ The President gave his approval. Truman's 
aides later discovered Attorney General Clark's omission and the 
President considered, but decided against, returning to the terms of 
Roosevelt's authorization.^^^ 

In 1954 the. Supreme Court denounced the Fourth Amendment 
violation by j^olice who placed a microphone in a bedroom in a local 
gambling case.--® 

Soon thereafter, despite this decision — and despite his i^redecessor's 
ruling that trespassory installation of bugs was in the "area" of the 
Fourth Amendment — Attorney General Herbert Brownell authorized 
the "unrestricted use" in the "national interest" of "trespass in the 
installation of microphones." "'^ 

From 1954 until 1965, when Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach 
reconsidered the i^olicy and imposed stricter regulations,-^" the FBI 
had unsupervised discretion to use microphone surveillance and to 
conduct surreptitious entries to install microphones. Thus, the safe- 
guard of approval by the Attorney General for each wiretap had been 
undercut by the FBI's ability to intrude into other, often more inti- 
mate conversations by microphone "bugging." 

(5) Extensive Bugging: In May 1961, Director Hoover advised 
Deputy Attorney General Byron White that the FBI was using "micro- 
phone surveillances" involving "trespass" for "intelligence purposes" 
in the "internal security field." He called White's attention to the 1954 
Brownell memorandum, although he said microphones were used "on 
a restricted basis" and cited as examples only "Soviet intelligence 
agents and Communist Party leaders." -^^ 

In fact, the FBI had already used microphone surveillance for 
broader coverage than Communists or spies. Indeed, it had "bugged" a 
hotel room occupied by a Congressman in February 1961. There is 
no evidence that Attorney General Kennedy or Deputy Attorney 

^"Letter from Attorney General Clark to President Truman, 7/17/46. 

^" Memorandum from G. M. Elsey, Assistant Counsel to the President, to S. J. 
Spingarn; memorandum from Elsey to the President, 2/2/50, (Spingarn Papers. 
Harry S. Truman Library ) . 

"^^ Irvine v. California, 347 U.S. 128 (1954). 

^ Memorandum from Attorney General Brownell to J. Edgar Hoover, 5/20/.54. 
In 1952 Attorney General J. Howard McGrath refused to authorize microphone 
surveillance involving trespass because it was "in the area of the Fourth Amend- 
ment." (Memorandum from Attorney General McGrath to J. Edgar Hoover, 
2/26/.52. ) 

^^ See p. 105. (The Chief Counsel to the Select Committee disqualified himself 
from participating in Committee deliberations concerning either Mr. Katzenbach 
or former Assistant Attorney General Burke Marshall because of a previous 
attorney-client relationship witli those two persons.) 

-^^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Deputy Attorney General Byron 
White, 5/4/61. 


General White were specifically informed of this surveillance. But 
the Attorney General received information which came from the 
"bug" and authorized a wiretap of the Congressman's secretary.-^^ 

Furthermore, FBI records disclose that the FBI conducted war- 
rantless microphone surveillances in 1960-1963 directed at a "black 
separatist group,*' "black separatist group functionaries'' and a 
"(white) racist organization."^^* There may have been others for 
purely domestic intelligence purposes.-^^ 

The FBI maintained no "central file or index" to record all micro- 
phone surveillances in this period, and FBI records did not distinguish 
"bugs" involving trespass.-^'' 

(2) ''''Black Bag Johs.''' — There is no indication that any Attorney 
General was informed of FBI "black bag" jobs, and a "Do Not File" 
procedure was designed to preclude outside discovery of the FBI's 
use of the technique. 

No permanent records were kept for approvals of "black bag jobs," 
or surreptitious entries conducted for purposes other than installing a 
"bug." The FBI has described the procedure for authorization of sur- 
reptitious entries as requiring the approval of Director Hoover or his 
Assistant Clyde Tolson. The authorizing memorandum was filed in the 
Assistant Director's ofKce under a "Do Not File" procedure, and there- 

-^ In the course of an investigation, authorized by Attorney General Kennedy, 
into lobbying efforts on behalf of a foreign country regarding sugar quota legis- 
lation, the FBI determined that Congressman Harold D. Cooley, chairman of tlie 
House Agriculture Committee, planned to meet with representatives of a foreign 
country in a hotel room. (FBI memorandum, 2/15/61; Memorandum from 
\V. R. Wannall to W. C. Sullivan, 12/22/66.) 

At the instruction of Director Hoover, the Bureau installed a microphone in 
the hotel room to record this meeting. (FBI memorandum, 2/15/61; Memo- 
randum from D. E. Moore to A. H. Belmont, 2/16/61.) The results of the meeting 
were subsequently disseminated to the Attorney General. (Memorandum from 
J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Kennedy, 2/18/61. ) 

A reviw of this case by FBI officials in 1966 concluded that "our files contain 
no clear indication that the Attorney General was specifically advised that a 
microphone surveillance was being utilized. . ." (Memorandum from AVannall 
to Sullivan, 12/21/66.) It was noted, liowever, that on the morning of Febru- 
ary 17, 1961 — after the microphone was in place but an hour or two before the 
meeting actually occurred — Director Hoover .spoke with Attorney General 
Kennedy and, according to Hoover's contemporaneous memorandum, advised 
him that the Cooley meeting was to take place that day and that "we are trying 
to cover" it. (Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Messrs. Tolson, Parsons, 
Mohr, Belmont, and DeLoach, 2/17/61.) 

^* According to records compiled by the FBI, there was FBI microphone sur- 
veillance of one "black separatist group" in 1960 ; one "black separatist group" 
and one "black separatist group functionary" in 1961 ; two "black separatist 
grouixs," one "black separatist group functionary," and one "(white) racist 
organization" in 1962 ; and two "black separatist groups" and one "black 
separatist group functionarv" in 1963. (Memorandum from FBI to Select Com- 
mittee. 10/23/75. ) 

"" The Select Committee has determined that the FBI, on at least one occasion, 
maintained no records of the approval of a microphone surveillance authorized 
by an Assistant Director. (FBI Memorandum, 1/30/75, Subject: Special Squad 
at Democratic National Convention, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 8/22-28/64.) 

^" Memorandum from the FBI to the Senate Select Committee, 10/17/75. This 
memorandum also states that, on the basis of the recollections of agents and a 
review of headquarters files, the FBI has "been able to identify" the following 
number of "surreptitious entries for microphone installations" in "internal 
security, intelligence, and counterintelligence" investigations: 1960: 49; 1961: 
63 ; 1962 : 75 : 1963 : 79 ; and the following number of such entries "in criminal 
inve.stigations" (as opposed to intelligence): 1960: 11; 1961: 69; 1962: 106; 
1963: 84. 


after destroyed. In the field office, the Special Agent in Charge main- 
tained a record of approval in his office safe. At the next yearly field 
office inspection, an Inspector would review these records to ensure 
that the SAC had secured FBI headquarters approval in conducting 
surreptitious entires. Upon completion of the review, these records 
were destroyecl.-^^ 

The only internal FBI memorandum found discussing the policy 
for surreptitious entries confirms that this was the procedure and 
states that "we do not obtain authorization from outside the Bureau" 
because the technique was "clearly illegal." The memorandum indi- 
cates that "black bag jobs" were used not only "in the espionage field" 
but also against "subversive elements" not directly connected to es- 
pionage activity. It added that the techniques resulted "on numerous 
occasions" in obtaining the "highly secret and closely guarded" mem- 
bership and mailing lists of "subversive" groups.^^* 

(3) Mail Opening. — The FBI did not seek outside authorization 
when it reinstituted mail opening programs in the fifties and early 
sixties. Eight programs were conducted for foreign intelligence and 
counterespionage purposes, and Bureau officials who supervised these 
programs have testified that legal considerations were simply not 
raised at the time.-^^ 

Bej^ond their original purpose, the FBI mail opening programs 
produced some information of an essentially domestic nature. For 
example, during this period one program supplied "considerable data" 
about American citizens who expressed pro-Communist sympathies 
or made "anti-U.S. statements." ^*° Some of the mail-opening by- 
product regarding Americans was diSvSeminated to other agencies for 
law enforcement purposes, with the source disguised.^*^ 

c. Use of FBI Wiretaps 
The authorization for wiretapping issued by President Truman in 
19-i6 allowed the Attorney General to approve wiretaps in the investi- 
gation of "subversive activity" to protect the "domestic security." ^^^ 

^^'Memoraiiclum from the FBI to the Senate Select Committee, 9/23/75. 

"* Memorandum from W. C. Sullivan to C. D. DeLoach, 7/19/66. Subject : 
"Black Bag" Jobs. Initials on this memorandum indicate that it was prepared 
by F. J. Baumgardner, an FBI Intelligence Division Section Chief, and approved 
by J. A. Sizoo, principal deputy to Assistant Director W. C. Sullivan. This 
memorandum was located in Director Hoover's "Official and Confidential" files, 
and it appears that the memorandum was shifted from Hoover's "Personal Files" 
shortly Ijefore his death. (Helen Gandy deposition, 11/12/75, pp. 4-6.) 

The FBI compiled a list of the "domestic subversive" targets, based "upon 
recollections of Special Agents who have knowledge of such activities, and review 
of those files identified by recollection as being targets of surreptitious entries." 
The list states '''at least fourteen domestic subversive targets were the subject of 
at least 238 entries from 1942 to April 1968. In addition, at least three domestic 
subversive targets were the subject of numerous entries from October 1952 to 
June 1966. . . . One white hate group was the target of an entry in March 1966." 
The Bureau admits that this list is "incomplete." (Memorandum from the FBI 
to the Senate Select Committee, 9/23/75.) 

■^'' DeiK)sition of William R. Branigan, Section Chief, FBI Intelligence Division, 
10/9/75. pp. 13, 39, -10. Testimony of Assistant Director W. Raymond Wannall, 
FBI Intelligence Di\4sion, 10/24/75, Hearings, vol. 4, pp. 148-49. 

-"Memorandum from San Francisco field office to FBI Headquarters, 3/11/60. 

-"Memorandum from S. B. Donahoe to W. C. Sullivan. 9/15/61 ; Memorandum 
from San Francisco field office to FBI headquarters, 7/28/61. 

=" Letter from Attorney General Clark to President Truman, 7/17/46. 


A wiretap on an official of the Nation of Islam, originally authorized 
by Attorney General Herbert Brownell in 1957, continued thereafter 
without re-authorization until 1965.-^-^ Attorney General Robert Ken- 
nedy approved FBI requests for wiretaps on an Alabama Klan leader 
in 1963 -*'* and on black separatist group leader Malcolm X in 1964. ^*^ 
Kennedy also authorized wiretap coverage requested by the Warren 
Commission in 1964.''**^ Kemiedy's approval of FBI requests for wire- 
taps on Dr. Martin Luther King and several of his associates are dis- 
cussed in greater detail elsewhere in the Committee's report. ^^^ 

In addition, Attorney General Kennedy approved wiretaps on four 
American citizens during investigations of "classified information 
leaks." The taps failed to discover the sources of the alleged "leaks" 
and involved procedural irregularities. In 1961 Attorney General 
Kennedy told Director Hoover that the President wanted the FBI 
to determine who was responsible for an apparent "leak" to Newsweek 
reporter Lloyd Norman, author of an article about American mili- 
tary plans in Germany.^^^ But the Attorney General was not asked to 
approve a wiretap on Norman's residence until after it was installed. 

According to contemporaneous Bureau memoranda, wiretaps in 
1962 on the residence of New York Times reporter Hanson Baldwin 
and his secretaiy to determine the source of an article about Soviet 
missile sites were also instituted without prior written approval of 
the Attorney General ; and one of them — the tap on the secretary — 
Avas instituted without the Attorney General's prior knowledge.^^^ 
Kennedy's written approval was obtained, however, three days after 
the Baldwin tap was installed and four days after the tap on tlie 
secretary was installed. '^° 

The pattern, including ex post facto approval, was repeated for 
Aviretaps of a former FBI agent who disclosed "confidential" Bureau 
information in a public forum. The first tap lasted for eight days in 
1962, and it was reinstituted in 1963 for an undetermined period.^'^^ 
Attorney General Kennedy was advised that the FBI desired to place 
the initial coverage ; but he was not informed that it had been effected 
the day before, and he did not grant written approval until the day 

^^ Memorandum from Hoover to Brownell, 12/31/56. 

^*' Memorandum from Hoover to Kennedy, 10/9/63. 

^^ Memorandum from Hoover to Kennedy, 4/1/64. 

^ Memorandum from Hoover to Kennedy, 2/24/64. 

"" See Findings C and G and Committee Report on the FBI and Dr. Martin 
Luther King. .Tr. 

'"^ Memorandum from R. D. Cotter to W. C. Sullivan, 12/15/66. On the .same 
day, and without specific authorization from the Attorney General, the FBI 
placed a wiretap on Norman's residence. Attorney General Kennedy was 
informed of the wiretap two days later, and approved it the following day. 
(Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Kennedy, 6/29/61.) 
The tap continued for four days until Norman went on vacation. (Memorandum 
from S. B. Donahoe to W. C. Sullivan, 7/3/61.) At no time did this or any other 
aspect of the FBI's investigation produce any evidence that Norman had actu- 
ally ohtained classified information. An FBI summary stated : "The majority of 
those interviewed thought a competent, well-informed reporter could have writ- 
ten the article without having reviewed or received classified informption." 
(Memorandum from Cotter to Sullivan, 12/15/66.) 

=^' Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Kennedy, 7/27/62. 

=^'' Memorandum from .T. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Kennedy, 7/31/62. 
The tap on the secretarv lasted three weeks, and the tap on Baldwin a month. 
Memoranda from W. R.'wannall to W. C. Sullivan, 8/13/62 and S/28/62. 

^'^ Unaddressed memorandum from A. H. Belmont, 1/9/63. 


it was terminated.-^- It appears that only oral authorization was 
obtained for reinstitiiting the tap in 1963.^^^ 

In February 1961, Attorney General Kennedy requested the FBI 
to initiate an investigation for the purpose of developing : 

intelligence data which would provide President Kennedy a 
picture of what was behind pressures exerted on behalf of [a 
foreign country] regarding sugar quota deliberations in Con- 
gress ... in connection with pending sugar legislation.^^* 

This investigation lasted approximately nine weeks, and was rein- 
stituted for a three-month period in mid-1962. 

According to an FBI memorandum, the Attorney General author- 
ized the wiretaps in 1961 on the theory that "the administration has 
to act if money or gifts are being passed by the [representatives of a 
foreign country].*' ^■'^■'"' Specifically, he approved wiretaps on several 
American citizens : three officials of the Agriculture Department (resi- 
dences only) ; '^® the clerk of the House Committee on Agriculture 
who was also secretary to the chairman (residence only) ; -^' and a reg- 
istered agent of the foreign country (both residence and business tele- 
phones). ^^^ After passage of the Administration's own sugar bill in 
April 1961, these wiretaps were discontinued.-'^^ 

The investigation was reinstituted in June 1962, when the Bureau 
learned that representatives of the same foreign country again might 
be influencing congressional deliberations concerning an amendment 
to the sugar quota legislation. -^^° Attorney General Kennedy approved 
wiretaps on the office telephone of an attorney believed to be an agent 
of the foreign country and, again, on the residence telephone of the 
Clerk of the House Agriculture Committee.-*^^ The latter tap continued 
for one month, but the former apparently lasted for three months.^^^ 

^^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Kennedy, 10/19/62. 

^^ Unaddressed memorandum from "hwg" (Director Hoover's secretary was 
Helen AV. Gandy), 1/9/63. This memorandum reads: "Mr. Belmont called to say 
(Courtney) Evans spoke to tlie Attorney General replacing tlae tech on [former 
FBI agent] again, and the Attorney General said by all means do this. Mr. Bel- 
mont has instructed New York to do so." (Assistant Director Courtney Evans was 
tlie FBI's normal liaison with Attorney General Kennedy.) 

^* Memorandum from W. R. Wanall to W. C. Sullivan, 12/22/66. The Sugar 
Lobby investigation is also discussed at footnote 233. 

^^ Memorandum from A. H. Belmont to Mr. Parsons, 2/14/61. 

^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Kennedy, 2/14/61. 

^^^ Memoradum from Hoover to the Attorney General, 2/16/61. 

'^^ Memorandum from Hoover to the Attorney General, 2/16/61. 

^® According to a memorandum of a meeting between Attorney General Ken- 
nedy and Courtney Evans, Kennedy stated tliat "now tlie law was passed lie did 
not feel there was justification for continuing this extensive investigation." 
(Memorandum from C. A. Evans to Mr. Parsons 4/14/61.) The investigation did 
discover possibly unlawful influence was being exerted by representatives of 
the foreign country involved, but it did not reveal that money was actually being 
passed to any Executive or congressional official. (Memorandum from Wannall 
to Sullivan, 12/22/66.) 

="» FBI letterhead memoranda, 6/15, IS, 19/62. 

^^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 6/26/62. 

262 rpjjg vviretap on the House Committee Clerk liad "produced no information 
of value." While there is no indication that tlie other wiretaps, including five 
directed at foreign targets, produced evidence of actual payoffs, they did reveal 
that possibly unlawful influence was again being exerted Ity the foreign gov- 
ernment, and internal Bureau permission was obtained to continue tliem for 
sixtv days bevond the initial thirty-day period. (Memorandum from W. R. Wan- 
nall to W. C. Sullivan, 8/16/62. ) 


These wiretaps in 1961 and 1962 were arguably related to "for- 
eign intelligence" — but not to "subversive activity" unless that term 
is interpreted beyond its conventional meaning."*^^ More important, 
they generated information which was potentially useful to the Ken- 
nedy administration for purely political purposes relating to the 
legislative process.-*^^ 

The wiretap authorized by Attorney General Kennedy on another 
high executive official in this period did not relate to political con- 
siderations, but to concern about possible disclosure of classified in- 
formation to a foreign government. ^*^^ There is no indication that the 
wiretap authorized by Attorney General Katzenbach in 1965 on the 
editoi- of an anti-communist newsletter, was related in any way to the 
book he had written in 1964 alleging personal impropriety by Attor- 
ney General Kennedy.^^" 

6. DoTnestic Covert Action 

In its COINTELPRO operation, the FBI went beyond excessive 
information-gathei-ing and dissemination to the use of secret tactics 
designed to "disrupt" and "neutralize" domestic intelligence targets. 
At the outset, the target was the Communist Party, U.S.A. But, 
consistent with the pattern revealed in other domestic intelligence ac- 
tivities, the program widened to other targets, increasingly concentrat- 
ing on domestic dissenters. The expansion of COINTELPRO began in 
the Cold War period and accelerated in the latter part of the 1960s. 

a. COINTELPRO: Commuuht Party 
The COINTELPRO program, authorized by Director Hoover 
againsit the Communist Party in 1956, had its roots in two lines of 
Bureau policy going back to the 1940s. The first was the accepted FBI 

*^A White House "briefing paper," prepared in February 1961, stated, "It is 
thouglit by some informed observers that tlie outcome of the sugar legislation 
which comes up for renewal in the U.S. Congress in March 1961 will be all- 
important to the future of U.S./ (foreign country) relations." (Memorandum 
from Richard M. Bissell, Jr. to McGeorge Bundy, 2/17/61.) Another White House 
"briefing memorandum" in June 1962 stated, "The action taken by the House 
of Representatives in passing the House Agriculture Committee bill (The Cooley 
bill) has created a furor in the (foreign country) . . ." Officials of that country 
said that the legislation "would be disa.strous" to its "economy." (Memorandum 
from William H. Brubeck to McGeorge Bundy and Myer Feldman, 6/23/62.) 
(JFK Library.) 

^* See Finding on Political Abuse, pp. 233, 234. The wiretapping of American 
citizens in these instances could only serve "intelligence," rather than law en- 
forcement i>urposes, since any criminal prosecution (i.e., for bribery) would have 
been "tainted" by the warrantless wiretaps. \,Codlon v. United States, 185 F. 2d 
629 (1950). 191 F. 2d 749 (19.51).] 

^ The circumstances indicating this possibility and the eventual determina- 
tion that the allegation was unfounded are set forth in a memorandum from 
Director Hoover to Attorney General Kennedy in IdM. (Hoover to Kennedy, 
5/4/64 and enclosure. (John F. Kennedy Library) ) 

^ The FBI requested the wiretap on the editor and an accompanying tap on 
a Washington attorney in contact with the editor of its concern about 
pos.sible "leaks" of information about FBI loyalty-security investigations of 
government officials. Director Hoover advised that publication of this "classi- 
fied information" constituted "a danger to the internal security of the United 
States." CMemorandum from Hoover to Katzenbach, 4/19/65.) However, in 1964 
Director Hoover had volunteered to Attorney General Kennedy information 
about the publication of the book alleging impropriety. The author himself had 
supplied information about the book to the FBI. (Memoranda from Hoover to 
Attorney General Kennedy, 7/8/64 and 7/15/64.) 

68-786 O - 76 - 6 


practice of attempting to disrupt "subvei'sive" organiza'tdons. A former 
head of the FBI Initelligonce Division has testified : 

We were engaged in COINTELPRO tactics, to divide, con- 
fuse, weaken, in diverse ways, an organization. We were 
engaged in that when I entered the Bureau in 1941.-®^ 

The memorandum recommending :the institution of COINTELPRO 
stated that the Bureau was already seeking to "foster factionalism" 
and "cause confusion" within the Communist Party. -®^ 

The second line of pre-existing Bureau policy involved propaganda 
to discredit the Communist Party publicly. For example, in 1946, an 
earlier head of the FBI Intelligence Division proposed that efforts be 
made to release "educational material" through "available channels" 
to influence "public opinion." The "educational" purpose was to under- 
mine Communist support among "labor unions," "persons prominent 
in religious circles," and "the Liberal elements," and to show "the basi- 
cally Russian nature of the Communist Party in this country." ^^^ By 
1956, a propaganda effort was underway to bring the Party and its 
leaders "into disrepute before the American public." ^^° 

The evidence indicates that the FBI did not believe that the Com- 
munist Party, when the COINTELPRO program was formalized in 
1956, constituted as serious a threat in terms of actual espionage as it 
had in the 1940s."^ Nevertiheless, the FBI systematized its covert 
action program against the Communist Party in part because the 
surfacing of informants in legal proceedings had somewhat limited 
the Bureiau's coverage of Party activities 'and also to take advantage of 
internal conflicts within the Party.-^^ Covert "disruption" was also 
designed to make sure that the Party would not reorganize under a 
new label and thus would remain an easier target for prosecution.^^^ 

^ Testimony of William C. Sullivan, Assistant Director for the Domestic In- 
telligence Division (1961-1970) and Assistant to the Director (1970-1971), 
11/1/75, pp. 42-^43. 

"^ Memorandum from A. H. Belmont to L. V. Boardman, 8/28/56. 

^ Memorandum from D. M. Ladd to J. Edgar Hoover, 2/27/46. According to 
this memorandum the underlying reason for such Bureau propaganda was to 
anticipate and counteract the "flood of propaganda from Leftist and so-called 
Liberal sources" which would "be encountered in the event of extensive arrests 
of Communists" if war with the Soviet Union broke out. 

""" Belmont to Boardman, 8/28/56. 

^ A Bureau monograph in mid-1955 "measured" the Communist Party threat 
as : 

"Influence over the masses, ability to create controversy leading to confusion 
and disunity, penetration of specific channels in American life where public 
opinion is molded, and espionage and sabotage potential." [Emphasis supplied.] 
(Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Dillon Anderson, Special Assistant to the 
President, 7/29/55, and enclosed FBI monograph, "The Menace of Communism 
in the United States Today." pp. iv-v. ) 

The FBI official who served as Director Hoover's liaison with the CIA in the 
1950s stated that "the Communist Party provided a pool of talent for the Soviet 
[intelligence] services" in the "30s and into the 40s." During that period the 
Soviets recruited agents "from the Party" to penetrate "the LT.S. Government" 
and "scientific circles." He added, however, that "primarily because of the action 
and counter-action taken by the FBI during the late 40s, the Soviet services 
changed their tactics and considerably reduced any programs or projects de- 
signed to recruit CP members, realizing or assuming that they were getting heavy 
attention from the Bureau." (Testimony of former FBI liaison with CIA, 
9/22/75, p. 32. ) 

"' Belmont to Boardman, 8/28/65. 

"'Belmont to Boardman, 9/5/56; memorandum from FBI headquarters to 
SAC, New York, 9/6/56. 


In the years after 1956, the purpose of the Communist Party COIN 
TELPRO chano:ed somewhat. Supreme Court decisions substantially 
curbed criminal prosecution of Communists.^' ^ Subsequently, the FBI 
"rationale" for COINTELPRO was that it had become "impossible 
to prosecute Communist Party members'' and some alternative was 
needed "to contain the threat." '^''^ 

h. Early Expansion of COINTELPRO 

From 19.56 until 1960, the COINTELPRO program was primarily 
aimed at the Communist Party organization. But, in March 1960, 
participating FBI field offices were directed to make efforts to pre- 
vent Communist "infiltration" of "legitimate mass organizations, such 
as Parent-Teacher Associations, civil organizations, and racial and 
religious groups." The initial technique was to notify a leader of the 
organization, often by "anonymous communications," about the al- 
leged Connnunist in its midst.^'*^ In some cases, both the Communist 
and the "infiltrated" organization were targeted. 

This marked the beginning of the progression from targeting Com- 
munist Party members, to those allegedly under Communist "influ- 
ence," to persons taking positions supported by the Communists. For 
example, in 1964 targets under the Communist Party COINTELPRO 
label included a group with some Communist participants urging in- 
creased employment of minorities ^'^ and a non-Communist group in 
opposition to the House Committee on L'^^n-American Activities.^"^^ 

In 1961. a COINTELPRO operation was initiated against the So- 
cialist AVorkers Party. The originating memorandum said it was not 
a "crash" program; and it was never given high priority .^'^ The 
SWP's support for "such causes as Castro's Cuba and integration 
problems arising in the South" were noted as factors in the FBI's 
decision to target the organization. The Bureau also relied upon its 
assessment that the SAYP was "not just another socialist group but 
follows the revolutionary principles of Marx, Lenin, and Engels as 
interpreted by Leon Trotsky" and that it was "in frequent contact 
with international Trotsky ite groups stopping short of open and direct 
contact with these groups." -*° The SWP had been designated as "sub- 
versive" on the "Attorney General's list" since the 1940s.^®^ 

D. Intelligence and Domestic Dissent: 1964-1976 

1. Main Developments of the 1961^-1976 Peinod 

Beo-inning in the mid-sixties, the United States experienced a period 
of domestic unrest and protest unparalleled in this century. Violence 
erupted in the poverty-stricken urban ghettos, and opposition to 
American inten'ention in Vietnam produced massive demonstrations. 

'" E.g., Yates v. Vnited, States, 354 U.S. 298 (1957). 

"^ Deposition of Supervisor, Internal Security Section, FBI Intelligence 
Division. 10/16/75. pp. 10, 14. 

^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York field office, 3/31/60. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco field office. 4/16/64. 

^* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cleveland field office, 11/6/64. 

"» Forty-five actions were approved by FBI Headquarters iinder the SWP 
COINTELPRO from 1961 until it was discontinued in 1969. The SWP program 
was then subsumed under the New Left COINTELPRO. see pp. 88-89. 

^Memorandum from Director. FBI. to New York field office, 10/12/61. 

-"Memorandum from the Attorney General to Heads of Departments and 
Agencies, 4/29/53. 


A small minority deliberately used violence as a method for achieving 
small minority deliberately used violence as a method for achieving 
political goals — ranging from the brutal murder and intimidation of 
black Americans in parts of the South to the terrorist bombing of of- 
fice buildings and government-supported unversity facilities. But 
t?iree Presidential commissions found that the larger outbreaks of vio- 
lence in the ghettos and on the campuses were most often spontaneous 
reactions to events in a climate of social tension and upheaval.^^^ 

During this period, thousands of young Americans and members of 
racial minorities came to believe in civil disobedience as a vehicle for 
protest and dissent. 

The government could have set an example for the nation's citizens 
and prevented spiraling lawlessness by respecting the law as it took 
steps to predict or prevent violence. But agencies of the United States, 
sometimes abetted by public opinion and government officials, all too 
often disregarded the Constitutional rights of American in their con- 
duct of domestic intelligence operations. 

The most significant developments in domestic intelligence activity 
during this period may be summarized as follows : 

a. Scope of Domestic Intelligence 

FBI intelligence reports on protest activity and domestic dissent 
accumulated massive information on lawful activity and law-abiding 
citizens for vaguely defined "pure intelligence" and "preventive 
intelligence" purposes related only remotely or not at all to law enforce- 
ment or the prevention of violence. The FBI exaggerated the extent 
of domestic Communist influence, and COMINFIL investigations 
improperly included groups with no significant connections to 

The FBI expanded its use of informers for gathering intelligence 
about domestic political groups, sometimes upon the urging of the 
Attorney General. No significant limits were placed on the kind of 
political or personal information collected by informers, recorded 
in FBI files, and often disseminated outside the Bureau. 

Army intelligence developed programs for the massive collection of 
information about, and surveillance of, civilian political activity in 
the United States and sometimes abroad. 

In contrast to previous policies for centralizing domestic intelligence 
investigations, the Federal Government encouraged local police to 
establish intelligence programs both for their own use and to feed 
into the Federal intelligence-gathering process. This greatly expanded 
the domestic intelligence apparatus, making it harder to control. 

The Justice Department established a unit for storing and evaluat- 
ing intelligence about civil disorders which was designed to use non- 
intelligence agencies as regular sources of information, which, in fact, 
drew on military intelligence as well as the FBI, and which trans- 
mitted its computer list of citizens to the CIA and the IRS. 

&. Domestic Intelligence Authority 
Intelligence gathering related to protest activity was generally 
increased in response to vague requests by Attorneys General or other 

"'"Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (1968), ch. 
2 ; Report of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Vio- 
lence (1969) ; Report of the President's Commission on Campus Unrest (1970). 


officials outside the intelligence agencies; such increases were some- 
times ratified retroactively by such officials. 

The FBI's exclusive control over civilian domestic intelligence at 
the Federal level was consolidated by formal agreements with the 
Secret Service regarding protective intelligence and with the Bureau 
of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms regarding terrorist bombings. 

c. Domestic G overt Action 

The FBI developed new covert programs for disrupting and dis- 
crediting domestic political groups, using the techniques origi- 
nally applied to Communists. The most intensive domestic intelli- 
gence investigations, and frequently COINTELPRO operations, were 
targeted against persons identified not as criminals or criminal 
suspects, but as "rabble rousers," "agitators," "key activists," or "key 
black extremists" because of their militant rhetoric and group leader- 
ship. The Security Index was revised to include such persons. 

Without imposing adequate safeguards against misuse, the Internal 
Revenue Service passed tax information to the FBI and CIA, in 
some cases in violation of tax regulations. At the urging of the White 
House and a Congressional Committee, the IRS established a program 
for investigating politically active groups and individuals, which 
included auditing their tax returns. 

d. Foreign Intelligence and Domestic Dissent 

A 1966 agreement concerning "coordination" between the CIA and 
the FBI permitted CIA involvement in internal security functions. 
Under pressure from the Johnson and Nixon White Houses to deter- 
mine whether there was "foreign influence" behind anti-war protests 
and black militant activity, the CIA began collecting intelligence about 
domestic political groups. 

The CIA also conducted operations within the United States imder 
overly broad interpretations of its responsibility to protect the 
physical security of its facilities and to protect intelligence "sources" 
and "methods." These operations included surreptitious entry, recruit- 
ment of informers in domestic political groups, and at least one 
instance of warrantless wiretapping approved by the Attorney 

In the same period, the National Security Agency monitored inter- 
national communications of Americans involved in domestic dissent 
despite the fact that its mission was supposed to be restricted to 
collecting foreign intelligence and monitoring only foreign communi- 

e. Intrusive Techniques 

As domestic intelligence operations broadened and focused upon 
dissenters, the Government increased the use of many of its most 
intrusive surveillance techniques. During the period from 1964 to 
1972, the standards and procedures for warrantless electronic surveil- 
lance were tightened, but actual practice was sometimes at odds with 
the articulated policy. Also during these years, CIA mail opening 
expanded at the Bureau's request, and NSA monitoring expanded to 
target domestic dissenters. However, the FBI cut back use of certain 
techniques under the pressure of Congressional probes and changing 
public opinion. 


/. Accountability and Control 

During this period several sustained domestic intelligence efforts 
illustrated deficiencies in the system for controlling intelligence agen- 
cies and holding them accountable for their actions. 

In 1970, presidential approval was temporarily granted for a plan 
for interagency coordination of domestic intelligence activities which 
included several illegal programs. Although the approval was sub- 
sequently revoked, some of the programs were implemented separate- 
ly by various agencies. 

Throughout the administrations of Presidents Johnson and Nixon, 
the investigative process was misused as a means of acquiring political 
intelligence for the White House. At the same time, the Justice De- 
partment's Internal Security Division, which should have been a check 
against the excesses of domestic intelligence, generally failed to re- 
strain such activities. For example, as late as 1971-1973, the FBI con- 
tinued to evade the will of Congress, partly with Justice Department 
approval, by maintaining a secret "Administrative Index" of suspects 
for round-up in case of national emergency. 

g. Reconsideration of FBI Authority 

Partly in reaction to congressional inquiries, the FBI in the early 
1970s began to reconsider the extent of its authority to conduct do- 
mestic intelligence activities and requested clarification from the At- 
torney General and an executive mandate for intelligence investiga- 
tions of "terrorists" and "revolutionaries". 

In the absence of any new standards imposed by statute, or by the 
Attorney General, the FBI continued to collect domestic intelligence 
under sweeping authorizations issued by the Justice Department in 
1974 for investigations of "subversives," potential civil disturbances, 
and "potential crimes". These authorizations were explicitly based on 
broad theories of inherent executive power. Attorney General Edward 
H. Levi recently promulgated guidelines which represent the first 
significant attempt by the Justice Department to set standards and 
limits for FBI domestic intelligence investigations. 

2. Scope of Domestic Intelligence 

During this period the FBI continued the same broad investigations 
of the lawful activities of Americans that were based on the Bureau's 
vague mandate to collect intelligence about "subversion." 

In addition, the Bureau — joined by CIA, NSA, and military in- 
telligence agencies — took on new and equally broad assii»:nments to 
investigate "racial matters," the "New Left," "student agitation," and 
alleged "foreign influence" on the antiwar movement. 

a. Domestic Protest and Dissent: FBI 
"We are an intelligence agency," stated a policy directive to all FBI 
offices in 1966, "and as such are expected to know what is going on or 
is likely to happen." ^^^ Written in the context of demonstrations over 
the Vietnam war and civil rights, this order illustrates the general 
attitude among Bureau officials and high administration officials who 
established intelligence policy : in a country in ferment, the FBI could, 
and should, know everything that might someday be useful in some 
undefined manner. 

SAC letter 67-27, 5/3/66. 


(1) Racial Intelligence. — During the 1960s, the FBI, partly on its 
own and partly in response to outside requests, developed sweeping 
programs for collecting domestic intelligence concerning racial mat- 
ters. These programs had roots in the late 1950s.^^* By the early 1960s, 
they had grown to the point that the Bureau was gathering intelli- 
gence about proposed "civil demonstrations" and the related activities 
of "officials, committees, legislatures, organizations, etc.," in the "racial 
field." 2«5 

In 1965, FBI field offices were directed to supply "complete" infor* 
mation (including "postponement or cancellation") : 

regarding planned racial activity, such as demonstrations, 
rallies, marches, or threatened opposition to activity of this 

Field offices reported their full "coverage" of "meetings" and "any 
other pertinent information concerning racial activities." -^^ 

In late 1966, field offices were instructed to begin preparing semi- 
monthly summaries of "existing racial conditions in major urban 
areas," relying upon "established sources," and "racial," "criminal," 
and "security informants." These reports were to describe the "general 
programs" of all "civil rights organizations" and "black nationalist 
organizations," as well as subversive or "hate-type" groups. The infor- 
mation to be gathered was to include : "readily available personal back- 
ground data" on "leadere and individuals in the civil rights move- 
ment" and other "leaders and individuals involved," as well as any 
data in Bureau files on "subversive associations" they might have; the 
"objectives sought by the minority community;" the community reac- 
tion to "minority demands;" and "the number, character, and inten- 
sity of the techniques used by the minority community, such as pick- 
eting or sit-in demonstrations, to enforce their demands." ^®^ 

Thus, the FBI was mobilized to used all its available resources to 
discover everything it could about "general racial conditions." While 
the stated objective was to arrive at an "evaluation" of potential for 
violence, the broad sweep of the directives issued to the field resulted 
in the collection and filing of vast amounts of information unrelated 
to violence. 

Some programs concerning "general racial matters" were directed 
to concentrate on groups with a "propensity for violence and civil 
disorder." ^^^ But even these programs were so overboard in their appli- 
cation as to include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his non-violent 
Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the "radical and vio- 
lence-prone" "hate group" category. The stated justification, misup- 
ported by any facts, was that Dr. King might "abandon his supposed 
'obedience' to 'white, liberal doctrines' (nonviolence) and embrace 
black nationalism." ^^^ 

Another leading civil rights group, the Congress of Racial Equality 
(CORE), was investigated under the "Racial Matters" Progi-am be- 
cause the Bureau concluded that it was moving "away from a legiti- 

^* See p. .50. 

=^ 1964 FBI Manual Section 122, p. 1. 

^ 1965 FBI Manual Section 122, pp. 6-8. 

^^FBI Manual Section 122. revised 12/13/66, pp. S-9. 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 8/25/67. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 3/4/68. 


mate civil rights organization" and "assuming a militant black nation- 
alist posture." The FBI reached this conclusion on the grounds that 
"some leaders in their public statements" had condoned "violence as 
a means of attaining Negro rights." The investigation was intensified, 
even though it was recognized there was no information that its mem- 
bers "advocate violence" or "participate in actual violence." ^^° 

The same overbreadth characterized the FBI's collection of intelli- 
gence about "white militant groups." Among the groups investigated 
were those "known to sponsor demonstrations against integration and 
against the busing of Negro students to white schools." As soon as a 
new organization of this sort was formed, the Bureau used its inform- 
ants and "established sources" to determine "the aims and purposes of 
the organization, its leaders, approximate membership," and other 
"background data" bearing upon "the militancy" of the group.'^"* 

(2) "A'^^i'fi Leff IiiteUiqence. — The FBI collected intelligence under 
its VIDEM (Vietnam Demonstration) and STAG (Student Agita- 
tion) Programs on "anti-Government demonstrations and protest ral- 
lies" which the Bureau considered "disruptive." Field offices were 
warned against "incomplete and nonspecific reporting" which neg- 
lected such details as "number of protesters present, identities of orga- 
nizations, and identities of speakers and leading: activists." ^^^ 

The FBI attempted to define the "New Left," but with little success. 
The Bureau agent who was in charge of New Left intelligence conceded 
that : 

It has never been strictly defined, as far as I know It's more 

or less an attitude, I would think. 

He also stated that the definition was expanded continually.^^^ 

Field offices were told that the New Left was a "subversive force" 
dedicated to destroying our "traditional values." Although it had "no 
definable ideology," it was seen as bavins: "strong Marxist, existential- 
ist, nihilist and anarchist overtones." Field offices were instructed that 
"proper areas of inquiry" regarding the subjects of "New I^ft" in- 
vestigations were "public statements, the writings and the leadership 
activities" which might establish their "rejection of law and order" 
and thus their "potential" threat to security. Such j^ersons would also 
be placed on the Security Index (for detention in a time of emergency) 
because of these "anarchistic tendencies," even if the Bureau could not 
prove "membership in a subversive organization." ^^^ 

A Bureau memorandum which recommended the use of disruptive 
techniques against the "New Left" paid particular attention to one of 
its "anarchistic tendencies" : 

^ SAC Tetter 68-16, 3/1 2/68, Subject: Congress of Racial Equality. 

^» SAC Letter 68-25, 4/30/68. 

^SAC Memorandum 1-72; 5/23/72, Subject: Reporting of Protest Dem- 

^^ Supervisor, FBI Intelligence Division, deposition, 10/28/75, pp. 7-8. 

"'^ SAC Letter 68-21, 4/2/68. This directive did caution that "mere dissent and 
oppo«;ition to Governmental policies pursued in a legal constitutional manner" 
was "not sufficient to warrant inclusion in the Security Index." Moreover, "anti- 
Vietnam or peace group sentiments" were not, in themselves, supposed to "justify 
an investigation." The failure of this admonition to achieve its stated objective is 
discussed in the findings on "Overbreadth" and "Covert Action to Disrupt." 


the New Left has on many occasions viciously and scurrilously 
attacked the Director and the Bureau in an attempt to hamper 
our investigations and drive us off the college campuses. ^^* 

Later instructions to the field stated that the term "New Left" did 
not refer to "a definite organization," but to a "loosely-bound, free- 
wheeling, college-oriented movement" and to the "more extreme and 
militant anti-Vietnam war and antidraft protest organizations." These 
instructions directed a "comprehensive study of the whole movement" 
for the purpose of assessing its "dangerousness." Quarterly reports 
were to be prepared, and "subfiles" opened, under the following 
headings : 

Organizations ("when organized, objectives, locality which 
active, whether part of a national organization") 

Membership (and "sympathizers" — use "best available in- 
formants and sources") 

Finances (including identity of "angels" and funds from 
"foreign sources") 

Communist Influence 

Publications ("describe publications, show circulation and 
principal members of editorial staff") 


Eeligion ("support of movement by religious groups or in- 

Race Relations 

Political Activities ("details relating to position taken on 
political matters including efforts to influence public opin- 
ion, the electorate and Government bodies") 


Education ("courses given together with any educational out- 
lines and assigned or suggested reading") 

Social Reform ("demonstrations aimed at social reform") 

Labor ("all activity in the labor field") 

Public Appearances of Leaders ("on radio and television" 
and "before groups, such as labor, church and minority 
groups," including "summary of subject matter discussed") 


Security Measures 

International Relations ("travel in foreign countries," "at- 
tacks on United States foreign policy") 

Mass Media ("indications of support of New Left by mass 

Through these massive reports, the FBI hoped to discover "the 
true nature of the New Left movement." ^^^ Few Bureau progi^ams 
better reflect "pure intelligence" objectives which extended far beyond 
even the most generous definition of "preventive intelligence." ^^^ 

** Memorandum from C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan. 5/9/68. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs. 10/28/68, and enclosure, 
Subject : New Left Movement — Report Outline. 

^ A further reason for collecting information on the New Left was put for- 
ward by Assistant Director Brennan. head of the FBI Intelligence Division in 
1970-1971. Since New Left "leaders'' had "publicly professed" their desire to 
overthrow tlie Government, the Bureau should file the names of anyone who 
"joined in membership" for "future reference" in case they ever "obtained 
a sensitive Government position." (Charles Brennan testimony, 9/25/75, Hear- 
ings, Vol. 2, pp. 116-117.) 


Apart from the massive general reports required on the "New Left," 
examples of particular investigations included : a stockholders group 
planning to protest their corporation's war production at the annual 
stockholders meeting ; ^'^ a university professor who was "an active 
participant in New Left demonstrations," publicly surrendered his 
draft card, and had been arrested in antiwar demonstrations, but not 
convicted ; ^^^ and two university instructors who helped support a 
student "underground" newspaper whose editorial policy was de- 
scribed as "left-of-center, anti-establishment, and opposed [to] the 
University administration." ^^^ 

The FBI also investigated emerging "New Left" groups, such as 
"Free Universities" attached to various college campuses, to determine 
whether they were connected "in any way" with "subvei*sive groups." 
For example, when an article appeared in a newspaper stating that 
one "Free LTniversity" was being formed and that it was "anti-institu- 
tional," the FBI sought to determine its "origin," the persons respon- 
sible for its "formation," and whether they had "subversive back- 
grounds." ^°° The resulting report described in detail the formation, 
curriculum content, and associates of the group. It was disseminated 
to military intelligence and Secret Service field offices and headquar- 
ters in Washington as well as to the State Department and the Justice 

h. FBI InfoTTnants 

The FBI Manual has never significantly limited informant report- 
ing about the lawful political activities or personal lives of American 
citizens, except for prohibiting reports about legal defense "plans or 
strategy," "employer-employee relationships" connected with labor 
unions, and "legitimate campus activities." ^°^ In practice, FBI agents 
imposed no other limitations on the informants they handled and, on 
occasion, disregarded the prohibitions of the Manual.^°^ 

(1) Infltration of the Klan. — In mid-1964. Justice Department of- 
ficials became increasingly concerned about the spread of Ku Klux 
Klan activity and violence in the Deep South. Attorney General Ken- 
nedy advised President Johnson that, because of the "unique difficulty" 
presented by a situation where "lawless activities" had the "sanction 
of local law enforcement agencies," the FBI should apply to the Klan 
the same "techniques" used previously "in the infiltration of Commu- 
nist groups." ^°* 

Former Attorney General Katzenbach, under whose tenure FBI 
activities against the Klan expanded, vigorously defended this deci- 

^ Memorandum from Minneapolis field oflSce to FBI Headquarters, 4/1/70. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Pittsburgh field ofllce, 5/1/70. 

^ Memorandum from Mobile field office to FBI Headquarters, 12/9/70. 

^Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit field offices, 2/17/66. 

^Memorandum from Detroit field office to FBI Headquarters, 4/15/66. 

^ FBI Manual, Section 107. 

*** See Findings on use of informants in "Intrusive Techniques," p. 192. 

'"* Memorandum from Attorney General Kennedy to the President, June 1964, 
quoted in Victor Navasky. Kennedy Justice (New York: Atheneum. ]971), pp. 
10.5-106. The President asked former CIA Director Allen Dulles to evaluate the 
situation in Mississippi. Upon his return from a survey of the state. Dulles en- 
dorsed the Attorney General's recommendation that the FBI be used to "control 
the terrorist activities." ("Dulles Requests More FBI Agents for Mississippi," 
New York Times, 6/27/64. ) 


sion as necessary to "deter violence" by sowing "deep mistrust among 
Klan members" and making them aware that they were "under con- 
stant observation." ^°^ The FBI Manual did, in fact, advise Bureau 
agents against "wholesale investigations" of persons who "mererly at- 
tend meetings on a regular basis." ^°^ But FBI intelligence officials 
chafed under this restriction and sought expanded informant cover- 
age.^"" Subsequently, the Manual was revised in 1967 to require the 
field to furnish the "details" of Klan "rallies" and "demonstrations." ^°^ 
By 1971, the Special Agents in Charge of field offices had the discre- 
tion to investigate not only persons with "a potential for violence," 
but also anyone else who in the SAC's "judgment" was an "ex- 
tremist." 2°9 

(2) ''''Listening Posts''' in the Black Community. — Two special in- 
formant programs illustrates the breadth of the Bureau's infiltration 
of the black community. In 1970, the FBI used its "established inform- 
ants" to determine the "background, aims and purposes, leaders and 
Key Activists" in every black student group in the country, "regard- 
less of [the group's] past or present involvement in disorders." ^^° Field 
offices were instructed to "target informants" against these groups and 
to "develop such coverage" where informants were not already avail- 

In response to Attorney General Clark's instructions regarding 
civil disorders intelligence in 1967, the Bureau launched a "ghetto 
informant program" which lasted until 1973.^^^ The number of ghetto 
informants expanded rapidly : 4,067 in 1969 and 7,402 by 1972.^^^ The 
original concept was to establish a "listening post" "* by recruiting a 
person "who lives or works in a ghetto area" to provide information re- 
garding the "racial situation" and "racial activities." ^^^ Such inform- 
ants could include "the proj^rietor of a candy store or barber shop." 
As the program developed, liowever, ghetto informants were: 

utilized to attend public meetings held by extremists, to iden- 
tify extremists passing through or locating in the ghetto area, 
to identify purveyors of extremist literature as well as given 
specific assignments where appropriate. ^^^ 

^Testimony of Nicholas deB. Katzenbach 12/3/75. Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 207. 

^1965 FBI manual. Section 122, pp. 1-2. 

*" FBI Executives conference memorandum, 3/24/66, Subject : Establishment 
of a Special Squad Against the Ku Klux Klan. 

■^ 1967 FBI manual, Section 122, p. 2. 

'"'1971 FBI manual, Section 122, p. 2. 

'^° Memorandum from FBI Executive Conference to Mr. Tolson, 10/29/70. 

'" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs. 11/4/70. 

'^ Memorandum from G. C. Moore to William O. Sullivan, 10/11/67. For At- 
torney General Clark's order, see pp. 88-84. 

^"Memorandum from FBI to Select Committee, 8/20/75 and enclosures.) 

*"* Memorandum from G. C. Moore to E. S. Miller, 9/8/72. 

"^Memorandum from G. C. Moore to C. D. Brennan. 10/27/70. 

^^ Memorandum from Moore to Miller, 9/27/72. This program continued until 
1973, when the FBI decided to rely on its regular extremist informants "for 'by- 
product' information on civil unrest." The most "productive" ghetto informants 
were "converted" into regular informants. (FBI Inspection Division Memoran- 
dum, 11/24/72; Memorandum from Director Clarence M. Kelley to all SACs, 


Material to be furnished by ghetto informants included names of 
"Afro- American type book stores" and their "owners, operators and 
clientele." ^^^ 

(3) Infltration of the ''New Leff\— The FBI used its "security" 
informant program to report extensively on all activities relating to 
opposition to the Vietnam war. Moreover, informants already in groups 
considered "subversive" by the FBI also reported on the activities of 
other organizations and their members, if the latter were being "infil- 
trated" by the former groups.^^^ 

The agent who handled one informant in an antiwar group believed 
to be infiltrated by "subversive groups and/or violent elements" 
testified that the informant told him "everything she knew" about 
the chapter she joined.^^^ Summaries of her reports indicate that she 
!>reported extensively about personal matters and lawful political 
activity.^^" This informant estimated that her reports identified as 
many as 1,000 people to the FBI over an 18-month period. The vast 
majority of these persons were members of peaceful and law-abiding 
groups, including the United Church for Christ, which were engaged 
in joint social welfare projects with the antiwar group which the 
informant had infiltrated.^^^ 

Other FBI informants reported, for example, on the Women's 
Liberation Movement, identifying its members at several mid-western 
universities ^^^ and reporting statements made by women concerning 
their personal reasons for participating in the women's movement.^^^ 

Moreover, as in the case of informants in the black community, 
efforts were made to greatly increase the number of informants who 
could report on antiwar and related groups. In 1969, the Justice 
Department specifically asked the FBI to use not only "existing 
sources," but also "any other sources you may be able to develop" to 
collect information about "serious campus disorders." ^-^ The Bureau 
ordered its field offices in 1970 to "make every effort" to obtain 
"informant coverage" of every "New Left commune." ^^^ Later that 
year, after Director Hoover lifted restrictions against recruiting 18 
to 21-year-old informants, field offices were urged to take advantage of 
this "tremendous opportunity" to expand coverage of New Left 
"collectives, communes, and staffs of their underground news- 
papers." ^^® 

^"^ Philadelphia Field Office memo 8/12/68, re Racial Informant. 

'"' FBI Manual Section 87. 

'"Testimony of FBI Special Agent, 11/20/75, p. 55. 

'^ Staff review of informant report summaries. 

^^ Marv Jo Cook, testimony, 12/2/75. Hearings, Vol. 6. pp. Ill, 119-120. 

'"Report of Kansas City Field Otfire, 10/20/70. 

'^Memorandum from New York Field OtRce to FBI Headquarters, 5/28/69. 

^* Memorandum from Assistant Attorney General J. Walter Yeagley to 
J. Edgar Hooyer, 3/3/69. This memorandum stated that the Department was 
considering "conducting a grand jury inyestigation" under the antiriot act and 
other statutes. 

'^Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 4/17/70. This directive 
defined a "commune" as "a group of individuals residing in one location who 
practice communal living, i.e., they .share income and adhere to the philosophy 
of a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-oriented violent revolution." 

^ SAC Letter 70-48, 9/15/70. Tliis directive implemented one provision of the 
"Huston Plan," which had been disapproved as a domestic intelligence package. 
See pp. 113, 116. 


c. ArTTiy Surveillance of Civilian Political Activity 

In the early 1960s, after several commitments of troops to control 
racial disturbances and enforce court orders in the South, Army 
intelligence began collecting information on civilian political activity 
in all areas -where it believed civil disorders might occur. The growth 
of the Army's domestic intelligence program typifies, once again, the 
general tendency of information-gathering operations to continually 
broaden their coverage. 

Shortly after the Army v^as called upon to quell civil disorders in 
Detroit and to cope with an antiwar demonstration at the Pentagon 
in 1967, the Army Chief of Staff approved a recommendation for 
"continuous counterintelligence investigations" to obtain informa- 
tion on "subversive personalities, groups or organizations" and their 
"influence on urban populations" in promoting civil disturbances.^^^ 
The Army's "collection plan" for civil disturbances specifically 
targeted as "dissident elements" (without further definition) the 
"civil rights movement" and the "anti-Vietnam/anti-draft move- 
ments." ^^^ As revised later. Army intelligence-gathering extended 
beyond "subversion" and "dissident groups" to "prominent persons" 
who were "friendly" with the "leaders of the disturbance" or 
"sympathetic with their plans." ^^^ 

d. Federal Encouragement of Local Police Intelligence 

In reaction to civil disorders in 1965-1966, Attorney General Katz- 
enbach turned for advice to the newly created President's Commis- 
sion on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. After hold- 
ing a conference with police and National Guard officials, the Presi- 
dent's Commission urged police not to react with too much force to dis- 
order "in the course of demonstrations," but to make advance plans for 
"a true riot situation." This meant that police should establish "pro- 
cedures for the acquisition and channeling of intelligence" for the use 
of "those who need it." ^^° Former Assistant Attorney General Vinson 
recalled the Justice Department's concern that local police did not 
have "any useful intelligence or knowledge about ghettos, about black 
communities in the big cities." ^" 

During the winter of 1967-1968, the Justice Department and the 
National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders reiterated the mes- 
sage that local police should establish "intelligence units" to gather 
and disseminate information on "potential" civil disorders. These 
units would use "undercover police personnel and informants" and 
draw on "community leaders, agencies, and organizations in the 
ghetto." ^^2 The Commission also urged that these local units be linked 

^ See Memorandum for the Record from Milton B. Hyman, OflSce of the 
General Counsel, to the Army General Counsel, 1/23/71, in Military Surveil- 
lance, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, Committee 
on the .Judiciary, United States Senate, 93rd Cong., 2nd Sess. (1974), p. 203. 

'^^ Federal Data Banks, Computem and the Rill of Rights. Hearings before 
the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights (1971), at pp. 1120-1121. 

"""^ Federal Data Banks. Henrinss, at pp. 1123-113S. 

'*' President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, 
The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society (1967), pp. 118-119. 

^ Fred M. Vinson testimony. 1/27/76, p. 32. 

"* Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (1968), 
p. 487 (Bantam Books ed.) . 


to "a national center and, clearinghouse" in the Justice Department.^^' 
One consequence of these recommendations was that the FBI, because 
of regular liaison with local police, became a channel and repository 
for much of this intelligence data. 

Local police intelligence provided a convenient manner for the FBI 
to acquire information it wanted while avoiding criticism for using 
covert techniques such as developing campus informants. For exam- 
ple, in 1969, Director Hoover decided "that additional student in- 
formants cannot be developed" by the Bureau.^^* Field offices were 
instructed, however, that one way to continue obtaining intelligence 
on "situations having a potential for violence" was to develop "in- 
depth liaison with local law enforcement agencies." ^^^ Instead of re- 
cruiting student informants itself, the FBI would rely on local police 
to do so. 

These Federal policies contributed to the proliferation of local police 
intelligence activities, often without adequate controls. One result was 
that still more persons were subjected to investigation who neither 
engaged in unlawful activity, nor belonged to groups which might be 
violent. For example, a recent state grand jury report on the 
Chicago Police Department's "Security Section" described its "close 
working relationship" with Federal intelligence agencies, including 
Army intelligence and the FBI. The report found that the police 
intelligence system produced "inherently inaccurate and distortive 
data" which contaminated Federal intelligence. One police officer 
testified that he listed "any person" who attended two "public meet- 
ings" of a group as a "member." This conclusion was forwarded "as a 
fact^'' to the FBI. Subsequently, an agency seeking, "background 
information" on that person from the Bureau in an employment 
investigation or for other purposes would be told that the individual 
was "a member." The grand jury stated : 

Since federal agencies accepted data from the Security Sec- 
tion without questioning the procedures followed, or methods 
used to gain information, the federal government cannot 
escape responsibility for the harm done to untold numbers of 
innocent persons.^^^ 

e. The Justice Department'' s Interdivision Information Unit 

Joseph Califano, President Johnson's assistant in 1967, testified 
that the Newark and Detroit riots were a "shattering experience" for 
Justice Department officials and "for us in the White House." They 
were concerned about the "lack of intelligence" about "black groups." 
Consequently, "there was a desire to have the Justice Department 
have better intelligence, for lack of a better term, about dissident 
groups." This desire "precipitated the intelligence unit" established by 
Attorney General Ramsey Clark in late 1967. According to Califano, 

'" Report of the National Advisory Commission, p. 490. 

"* SAC Letter 69-16, 3/11/69. This order "recognized that with the graduation 
of senior classes, you will lose a certain percentage of your existing student in- 
formant coverage." But this would "not be accepted as an excuse for not devel- 
oping the necessary information." 

"' SAC Letter 69-44, 8/19/69. 

^ "Improper Police Intelligence Activities." A Report by the Extended March 
1975 Cook County (Illinois) Grand Jury, 11/10/75. 


the President and the White House staff were insisting : "There must 
be a way to predict violence. We've got to know more about this." ^^'^ 
In September 1967 Attorney General Clark asked Assistant Attorney 
General John Doar to review the Department's "facilities" for civil 
disorders intelligence.^^^ Doar recommended creating a Departmental 
"intelligence unit" to analyze FBI information about "certain persons 
and groups" (without further definition) in the urban ghettos. He 
proposed that its "scope be very broad initially" so as to "measure 
the influence of particular groups." Doar recommended that, in addi- 
tion to the FBI, agencies who should "funnel information" to the 
unit should include : 

Community Relations Service 

Poverty Programs 

Neighborhood Legal Services Program 

Labor Department Programs 

Intelligence Unit of the Internal Revenue Service 

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Division of the Treasury 

Narcotics Bureau (then in the Treasury Department) 
Post Office Department 

Doar recognized that the Justice Department's Community Relations 
Service, designed to conciliate racial conflicts, risked losing its "credi- 
bility" and thereby its ability to help prevent riots, but he assured the 
Attorney General that the "confidentiality" of its information could 
be protected.^^® 

A later study for Attorney General Clark added the following 
agencies to Doar's list : 

President's Commission on Civil Disorders 

New Jersey Blue Ribbon Commission (and similar state 

State Department 
Army Intelligence 
Office of Economic Opportunity 
Department of Housing and Urban Development (surveys 

and Model City applications) 
Central Intelligence Agency 
National Security Agency 

This study recommended that FBI reports relating "to the civil dis- 
turbance problem" under the headings "black power, new left, pacifist, 
pro-Red Chinese, anti- Vietnam war, pro-Castro, etc." be used to de- 

^" Joseph Califano testimony, 1/27/76, pp. 6-9. Califano states in retro- 
spect that the attempt to "predict violence" was "not a successful undertaking," 
that "advance intelligence about dissident groups" would not "have been of 
much help," and that what is "important" is "physical intelligence about 
geography, hospitals, power stations, etc." (Califano, 1/27/76, pp. 8. 11-12.) 

'^ In 1966, the Justice Department had .started an informal "Summer Project," 
staffed by a handful of law students, to pull together data from the newspapers, 
the U.S. Attorneys, and "some Bureau material" for the purpose, according to 
former Assistant Attorney General Fred Vinson, Jr., of finding out "what's going 
on in the black community." (Vinson, 1/27/76 p. 33.) 

*" ^Memorandum from Assistant Attorney General John Doar to Attorney 
General Clark, 9/27/67. 


velop "a master index on individuals, or organizations, and by 
cities." 3^" 

Attorney General Clark approved these recommendations and estab- 
lished the Interdivision Information Unit (IDIU) for: 

reviewing and reducing to quickly retrievable form all infor- 
mation that may come to this Department relating to orga- 
nizations and individuals who may play a role, whether 
purposefully or not, either in instigating or spreading civil 
disorders, or in preventing or checking them.^^^ 

In early instructions, Clark had stated that the Department must 
"endeavor to increase" such intelligence from "external sources." ^^^ 

In fact, according to its first head, the IDIU did use intelligence 
from the Army, the Internal Revenue Service, and "other investiga- 
tive agencies." Sometimes IDIU information was used to "determine 
whether or not" the Community Relations Service should "mediate" 
a dispute.^*^ The Unit developed a computer system which could gen- 
erate lists of all "members or ajfliliates" of an organization, their loca- 
tion and travel, "all incidents" relating to "specific issues", and "all 
information" on a "planned specific demonstration" ^^* 

By 1970, the IDIU computer was receiving over 42,000 "intelligence 
reports" a year relating to "civil disorders and campus disturbances" 

the FBI, the U.S. Attorneys, Bureau of Narcotics, Alcohol, 
Tobacco, and Firearms Division of the Treasury Department 
and other intelligence gathering bodies within the Executive 

IDIU computer tapes, which included 10-12,000 entries on "numer- 
ous anti-war activists and other dissidents," were provided to the 
Central Intelligence Agency in 1970 by Assistant Attorney General 
Jerris Leonard, then the Attorney General's Chief of Staff for Civil 
Disturbance and head of the Civil Rights Division.^^^ This list of per- 
sons was sent to the Internal Revenue Service where tlie Special 
Services staff opened intelligence files on all persons and organiza- 
tions listed. Many of them were later investigated or audited, in some 
cases merely because they were on the list. 

In 1971, the IDIU computer included data on such prominent per- 
sons as Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Caesar Chavez, Bosley Crowther 

**" Memorandum from Messrs. Maroney, Nugent, McTieman, and Turner to 
Attorney General Clark, 12/6/67. 

^^ Memorandum from Attorney General Clark to Assistant Attorneys General 
John Doar, Fred Vinson, Jr., Roger W. Wilkins, and J. Walter Yeagley, 12/18/67. 

^" Memorandum from Attorney General Clark to Kevin T. Maroney, et al., 

^Testimony of Kevin T. Maroney (Deputy Assistant Attorney General), 
1/27/76, pp. ,59-60. 

*** Memorandum from Assistant Attorney General Yeagley to Deputy Attorney 
General Richard Kleindienst. 2/6/69. 

^^ Justice Department memorandum from James T. Devine, 9/10/70, Subject : 
Interdivisional Information Unit. 

^' Statement of Deputy Attorney General Laurence H. Silberman, Justice 
Depnrtment, l/H/75. According to thivS statement, a .Tustice Department inquiry 
in 1975 concluded that Leonard "initiated the transaction by requesting the CIA 
to check against its ovpn sources whether any of the Individuals on the IDIU 
list were engaged in foreign travel, or received foreign assistance or funding." 


(former New York Times film critic), Sammy Davis, Jr., Charles 
Evers, James Farmer, Seymour Hersh, and Coretta King. Organiza- 
tions on which information had been collected included the NAACP, 
the Congress of Racial Equality, the Institute for Policy Studies, 
VISTA, United Farm Workers of California, and the Urban League. 
Ordinary private citizens who were not nationally prominent were also 
included. One was described as "a local civil rights worker," another 
as a "student at Merritt College and a member of the Peace and 
Freedom Party as of mid-68," and another as "a bearded militant who 
writes and recites poetry." ^^^ 

Thus, beginning in 1967-1968, the IDIU was the focal point of a 
massive domestic intelligence apparatus established in response to 
ghetto riots, militant black rhetoric, antiwar protest, and campus dis- 
ruptions. Through IDIU, the Attorney General received the benefits 
of information gathered by numerous agencies, without setting limits 
to intelligence reporting or providing clear policy guidance. Each 
component of the structure — FBI, Army, IDIU, local police, and 
many others — set its own generalized standards and priorities, result- 
ing in excessive collection of information about law abiding citizens. 

/. COMINFIL Investigations: Overhreadth 

In the late 1960's the Communist infiltration or association concept 
continued to be used as a central basis for FBI intelligence investiga- 
tions. In many cases it led to the collection of information on the same 
groups and persons who were swept into the investigative net by tlie 
vague missions to investigate such subjects as "racial matters" or the 
"New Left. As it had from its beginning, the COMINFIL concept pro- 
duced investigations of individuals and groups who were not Commu- 
nists. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the best known example.^*^ But 
the lawful activities of many other persons were recorded in FBI files 
and reports because they associated in some wholly innocent way with 
Communists, a term which the Bureau required its agents to "interpret 
in its broad sense" to include "splinter" and "offshoot" groups.^*® 

During this period, when millions of Americans demonstrated in 
favor of civil rights and against the Vietnam war, many law-abiding 
citizens and groups came under the scrutiny of intelligence agencies. 
Under the COMINFIL program, for example, the Bureau compiled 
extensive reports on moderate groups, like the NAACP.^^° 

^^ Staff Memorandum for the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, United 
States SenatP. 9/34/71. 

'*® See detailed report on Martin Luther King, Jr. 

^ FBI Manual, Section 87. 

^The Bureau frequently disseminated reports on the NAACP to military 
intelligence because (as one report put it) of the latter's "interest in matters 
pertaining to infiltration of the NAACP." (Report from Los Angeles Field Oflace 
to FBI Headquarters, 11/5/65.) All the national officers and board members 
were listed, and any data in FBI files on their past "association" with "sub- 
versives" was included. Most of this information went back to the 1940's. (Re- 
port from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/15/65.) When changes 
occurred in the NAACP's leadership and board, the Bureau once again went back 
to its files to dredge up "subversive" associations from the 1940's. (Report 
from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/15/66.) Chapter member- 
ship information was sometimes obtained by "pretext telephone call . . . utilizing 
the pretext of being interested in joining that branch of the NAACP." (Memoran- 
dum from Los Angels field office to FBI Headquarters, 11/5/65.) As discussed 
pre\iously, the Bureau never found that the NAACP had abandoned its consistent 
anti-Communist policy. (Seep. 49). 


The FBI significantly impaired the democratic decisionmaking 
process by its distorted intelligence reporting on Communist infil- 
tration of and influence on domestic political activity. In private re- 
marks to Presidents and in public statements, the Bureau seriously 
exaggerated the extent of Communist influence in both the civil rights 
and anti- Vietnam war movements.^^^ 

S. Domestic Intelligence Authority 

During this period there were no formal executive directives out- 
lining the scope of authority for domestic intelligence activity of the 
sort previously issued by Presidents Koosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, 
and Kennedy.^^^ However, there was a series of high-level requests 
for intelligence concerning racial and urban unrest directed to the 
FBI and military intelligence agencies. As with the earlier formal 
Presidential directives on subjects like "subversion," these instructions 
provided no significant guidelines or controls. 

a. FBI Intelligence 
Since the early 1960s, the Justice Department had been making 
sporadic requests for intelligence related to specific racial events. 
For example, the FBI was requested to provide a tape recording of 
a speech by Governor-elect George Wallace of Alabama in late 1962 ^^^ 
and for "photographic coverage" of a civil rights demonstration on 
the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. ^^^ On its 
own initiative, the FBI supplied the Civil Rights Division with in- 
formation from a "confidential source" about plans for a demonstra- 
tion in Virginia, including background data on its "sponsor" and 
the intention to make "a test case." ^^^ The Civil Rights Division pre- 
pared regular summaries of information from the Bureau on "dem- 
onstrations and other racial matters." ^^® 

'^ See examples of the exaggeration of Communist influence set forth in Find- 
ings on Political Abuse. Such distortion continues today. An FBI Intelligence 
Division Section Chief told the Committee that he could not "think of very 
many" major demonstrations in this country in recent years "that were not 
caused by" the Communist Party or the Socialist Workers Party. In response 
to questioning, the Section Chief listed eleven specific demonstrations since 
1965. Three of these turned out to be principally SDS demonstrations, although 
some individual Communists did participate in one of them. Six others were 
organized by the National (or New) Mobilization Committee, which the Section 
Chief stated was subject to Communist anS, Socialist Workers Party "influence." 
But the Section Chief admitted that the mobilization Committee "probably" 
included a wide spectrum of persons from all elements of American society. 
(R. L. Shackleford deposition, 2/13/76, pp. 3-8.) The FBI has not alleged that the 
Socialist Workers Party is dominated or controlled by any foreign government. 
(Shackelford testimony, 2/6/76, pp. 73-77, 114.) 

"^ See Sections B-3 and C-2. 

^Memorandum from Director, FBI, to Assistant Attorney General Burke 
Marshall (Civil Rights Division), 12/4/62. 

"^Memorandum from St. J. B. (St. John Barrett) to Burke Marshall. 6/18/63. 

^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, 

^ Memorandum from Carl W. Gabel to Burke Marshall, 7/19/63. This memo- 
randum described twenty-one such "racial matters" in ten states, including states 
outside the South such as Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania. Indiana, and Nevada. 
While some of the items in this and later summaries related to violent or poten- 
tially violent protest demonstrations, they went beyond those limits to include 
entirely peaceful protest activity and group activities (such as conferences, meet- 
ings, leadership changes) unrelated to demonstrations. (Memoranda from Gabel 
to Marshall, 7/22 and 7/25, 8/2 and 8/22/63.) The Justice Department's role in 
exijanding FBI intelligence operations against the Klan is discussed at pp. . 


A formal directive, for a similar purpose, was sent by Attorney Gen- 
eral Kennedy to U.S. Attorneys throughout the South in May 1963. It 
instructed them to "make a survey" to ascertain "any places where 
racial demonstrations are expected within the next 30 days'' and to 
make "assessments of situations" in their districts. The FBI was 
"asked to cooperate." ^" 

President Johnson ordered the FBI to investigate and report on the 
origins and extent of the first small-scale Northern ghetto disturbances 
in the summer of 1964.^^^ After the FBI submitted a report on the 
Watts riot in Los Angeles in 1965, however, Attorney General Kat- 
zenbach advised President Johnson that the FBI should investigate 
"directly" only the possible "subversive involvement." Katzenbach did 
not believe that the FBI should conduct a "general investigation" of 
"other aspects of the riot," since these were local law enforcement mat- 
ters. The President approved this "limited investigation." ^^^ None- 
theless, internal Bureau instructions in 1965 and 1966 went far beyond 
this limitation.^*^" By 1967 new Attorney General Ramsey Clark re- 
versed the Department's position on such limitations. 

After the riots in Newark and Detroit in the summer of 1967, 
President Johnson announced that the FBI had "standing instruc- 
tions" for investigating riots "to search for evidence on conspiracy." ^^^ 
This announcement accompanied the creation of a National Advisory 
Commission on Civil Disorders to investigate the "basic factors and 
causes leading to" the riots, including the "influence" of groups or 
persons "dedicated to the incitement or encouragement of violence." 
The President ordered the FBI in particular to "provide investigative 
information and assistance" to the Com mission. ^^^ Director Hoover 
also agreed to investigate "allegations of subversive influence, involve- 
ment of out-of-state influences, and the like." ^®^ 

In September 1967, Attorney General Clark directed the FBI to : 

use the maximum resources, investigative and intelligence, 
to collect and report all facts bearing upon the question as 
to whether there has been or is a scheme or conspiracy by 
any group of whatever size, effectiveness or affiliation, to 
plan, promote or aggravate riot activity.^®* 

M7 Telegram from Attorney General Kennedy to U.S. Attorneys, 5/27/63. 

^ The ba.sis for the inquiry was explained in the most general terms : "Keeping 
the peace in this country is essentially the responsibility of the state government. 
A^Tiere lawless conditions arise, however, with similar characteristics from coast 
to coast, the matter is one of national concern even though there is no direct con- 
nection between the events and even though no Federal law is violated." (Text 
of FBI Report on Recent Racial Disturbances, New York Times, 9/27/64.) 

^' Memorandum from Attorney General Katzenbach to President Johnson, 

'" See p. 71. 

*^ Remarks of the President, 7/29/67, in Report of the National Advisory Com- 
mission on Civil Disorders (1968), p. 537 (Bantam Books ed.) 

'*' IDxecutive Order 113a5. 7/29/67. 

^^ Memorandum from C. D. DeLoach to Mr. Tolson, 8/1/67, Subject : Director's 
Testimony Before National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. This mem- 
orandum indicates that, following this testimony. Director Hoover ordered his 
subordinates to intensify their collection of intelligence about "vociferous rabble- 
rousers." The creation thereafter of a "Rabble Rouser Index" is di-scussed at 
pp. 89-90. 

^ Memorandum from Attorney General Ramsey Clark to .T. Edgar Hoover, 


Justice Department executives were generally aware of, and in some 
cases sought to widen, the scope of FBI intelligence collection. In a 
lengthy review of Bureau reports, John Doar, Assistant Attorney 
General for the Civil Rights Division, expressed concern that the 
FBI had not "taken a broad spectrum approach" to intelligence col- 
lection, since it had "focused narrowly" on "traditional subversive 
groups" and on persons suspected of "specific statutory violations." ^^^ 
Reiterating this viewpoint. Attorney General Clark told Director 
Hoover that "existing intelligence sources" may not have "regularly 
monitored" possible riot conspirators in "the urban ghetto." He added 
that it was necessary to conduct a "broad investigation" and that 

sources or informants in black nationalist organizations, 
SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and 
other less publicized groups should be developed and ex- 
panded to determine the size and purpose of these groups and 
their relationship to other groups . . .^^^ 

Clark described his directive as setting forth "a relatively new area of 
investigation and intelligence reporting for the FBI." ^^^ 

In response to the Attorney GeneraPs instructions, the FBI advised 
its field offices of the immediate "need to develop additional penetra- 
tive coverage of the militant black nationalist groups and the ghetto 
areas." ^®^ 

h. Army Intelligence 
On January 10, 1968, a meeting took place at the White House for 
the purpose of "advance planning for summer riots." The White 
House memorandum of the meeting reported : 

Tlie Army has undertaken its own intelligence study, and has 
rated various cities as to their riot potential. They are mak- 
ing contingency plans for troop movements, landing sites, 
facilities, etc. 

It added that the Attorney General and the Deputy Secretary of De- 
fense "had agreed to coordinate their efforts." ^^^ The Army General 
Counsel's memorandum of the meeting stated that Attorney General 
Clark had "stressed the difficulty of the intelligence effort," especially 
because there were "only 40 Negro FBI agents" out of the total of 
about 6,300. Clark added that "every resource" was needed in "the in- 
telligence collection effort," although he asked the Defense Depart- 
ment to "screen" its "incoming intelligence" and send "only key items" 
to the Justice Department.^^" 

^ Memorandum from Assistant Attorney General John Doar to Attorney Gen- 
eral Olark, 9/27/67. 

^ Memorandum from Clark to Hoover, 9/14/67. 

**' Clark to Hoover, 9/14/67. The Department's establishment of a special imit 
for intelligence evaluation is discussed at pp. 115-116. 

^ SAC Letter 67-72, 10/17/67. The scope of the "ghetto informant program" is 
described at pp. 7.5-76. 

^ Memorandum from Joseph Calif^no to the President, 1/18/68. Those present 
were Attorney General Clark, Deputy Attorney General Warren Christopher, 
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze, Acting Army General Counsel Robert 
Jordan, and Presidential assistants Matthew Nimetz and Califano. 

''" Memorandum from the Army General Counsel to the Under Secretary of the 
Army, 1/10/68. Former Army Chief of St^ff Hnrold K. Johnson has said that 
there were several other meetings at the White House where the Army was urged 
to take a greater role in the civil disturbance collection effort. (Staff summary of 
Harold K. Johnson interview, 11/18/75.) 


There ig no record that at this or any other similar meeting in this 
period the Attorney General or White House aides explicitly ordered 
the Army to conduct intelligence investigations using infiltration or 
other covert surveillance techniques. However, even though Army col- 
lection plans which were circulated to the Justice Department and the 
FBI ^"^ did not mention techniques of collection, the information they 
described could only be obtained by covert surveillance. No objections 
were voiced by the Justice Department. 

Not until 1969 was there a formal civilian decision specifically 
authorizing Army surveillance of civilian political activity. At that 
time, Attorney General John Mitchell and Secretary of Defense Mel- 
vin Laird considered the matter and over the objections of the Army 
General Counsel, decided that the Army would participate in intelli- 
gence collection concerning civil disturbances.^"^ The Army's collec- 
tion plan was not rescinded until June 1970, after public exposure and 
congressional criticism.^^^ 

c. FBI Interagency Agreements 
After the assassination of President Kennedy, the FBI and the 
Secret Service negotiated an agreement which recognized that the 
Bureau had "general jurisdiction'' over "subversion." The term was 
defined, more narrowly than it had been defined by practice in the past, 
as "knowingly or wilfully advocat[ing]" overthrow of the Government 
by "force or violence" or by "assassination." Except for "temporary" 
action to "neutralize" a threat to the President, the Secret Service 
agreed to "conduct no investigation" of "members of subversive 
groups" without notifying the FBI. The Bureau, on the other hand, 
would not investigate individuals "solely" to determine their "danger- 
ousness to the President." ^^^ 

^^ Federal Data Banks, Hearings, at p. 1137. On at least one occasion, Deputy 
Attorney General Warren Christopher thanked an Army intelligence oflScer for 
spot reports and daily summaries. (Letter from Deputy Assistant General Chris- 
topher to Ma.1. Gen. William P. Yarborough, Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelli- 
gence, 5/15/68.) The Justice Department's intelligence analysis unit received 
"army intelligence reports" during 1968 on persons and groups involved in "racial 
agitation." (Memorandum from Assistant Attorney General J. Walter Yeagley to 
Deputy Attorney General Richard G. Kleindienst. 2/6/69.) 

""^ Memorandum from Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and Attorney General 
John N. Mitchell to the President, 4/1/69. Subject : Interdepartmental Action 
Plan for Civil Disturbances. This reflected a failure on the part of the Army 
General Counsel to i)ersuade the Justice Department to relieve the Army of 
its domestic intelligence-gathering role. (Memorandum from Robert E. Jordan, 
Army General Counsel, to the Secretary of the Army, Subject : Review of Civil 
Disturbance Intelligence Historv, in Military Surveillance, Hearings, p. 296.) 

^^ Letter from Robert E. Lynch, Acting Adjutant General of the Army, to sub- 
ordinate commands, 6/9/70, Subject : Collection, Reporting, Processing, and Stor- 
age of Civil Disturbance Information. 

See discussion of the termination of this program in Section III ["Ter- 
minations" Sub-finding under "Accountability and Control"]. 

^^* Agreement Between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret 
Service Concerning Presidential Protection, 2/3/65. The FBI was to report to 
Secret Service information about "subversives, ultra-rightists, racists and 
fascists" who expressed "strong or violent anti-U.S. sentiment" or made "state- 
ments indicating a propensity for violence and antipathy toward good order and 

These reporting standards were modified in 1971 to require the FBI to refer to 
Secret Service: "Information concerning civil disturbances, anti-U.S. demon- 
strations or incidents or demonstrations against foreign diplomatic establish- 

( Continued) 


After Congress enacted antibombing legislation in 1970, the FBI was 
assigned primary responsibility for investigating "offenses perpetrated 
by terrorist/revolutionary groups." ^'^ When these guidelines were 
developed, the FBI shifted supervision of bombing cases from its 
General Investigative Division to the Intelligence Division because, as 
one official put it, the specific criminal investigations were "so inter- 
related with the gathering of intelligence in the racial and security 
fields that overlap constantly occurs." ^^^ 

The agreement with Secret Service and the "guidelines" covering 
bombing investigations did not give the FBI any additional domestic 
intelligence-gathering authority. They simply provided for dissemina- 
tion of information to Secret Service and allocated criminal investiga- 
tive jurisdiction between the FBI and the Alcohol, Firearms, and 
Tobacco Division. Nevertheless, both presupposed that the FBI had 
broad authority to investigate "subversives" or "terrorist /revolution- 
ary groups." 

4. Domestic Covert Action 


The FBI's initiation of COINTELPRO operations against the Ku 
Klux Klan, "Black Nationalists" and the "New Left" brought to bear 
upon a wide "range of domestic groups the techniques previously devel- 
oped to combat Communists and persons who happened to associate 
with them. 

The start of each program coincided with significant national events. 
The Klan program followed the widely-publicized disappearance 
in 1964 of three civil rights workers in Mississippi. The "Black Na- 
tionalist" program was authorized in the aftermath of the Newark 
and Detroit riots in 1967. The "New Left" program developed shortly 
after student disruption of the Columbia University campus in the 
spring of 1968. While the initiating memoranda approved by Director 
Hoover do not refer to these specific events, it is clear that they shaped 
the context for the Bureau's decisions. 

These programs were not directed at obtaining evidence for use in 
possible criminal prosecutions arising out of those events. Rather, 
they were secret programs — "under no circumstances" to be "made 
known outside the Bureau" "7 — which used unlawful or improper acts 
to "disrupt" or "neutralize" the activities of groups and individuals 
targeted on the basis of imprecise criteria. 

(1) Klan and ''White Hate'' COINTELPRO.— The expansion of 
Klan investigations, in response to pressure from President Johnson 
and Attorney General Kennedy,"^ was accompanied by an internal 


ments ;" and "information concerning persons who may be considered potentially 
dangerous to individuals protected by the [Secret Service] because of their . . . 
participation in groups engaging in activities inimical to the United States." 
With respect to organizations, the FBI reported information on their "officers,''^ 
"size," "goals," "source of financial support." and other "background data." 
(Agreement Between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States 
Secret Service Concerning Protective Responsibilities, 11/26/71.) 

'^Investigative Guidelines: Title XI, Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, 
Regulation of Explosives. 

'''FBI Inspection Report, Domestic Intelligence Division, August 17-Septem- 
ber 9. 1971. pp. 224-38. 

*" Memoranda from FBI headquarters to all SAC's, 9/2/64 ; 8/25/67 ; 5/9/68. 

*"" See pp. 74-75. 


Bureau decision to shift their supervision from the General Investiga- 
tive Division to the Domestic Intelligence Division. One internal FBI 
argument for the transfer was that the Intelligence Division was "in 
a position to launch a disruptive counterintelligence program" against 
the Klan with the "same effectiveness" it had against the Communist 

Accordingly, in September 1964 a directive was sent to seventeen 
field offices instituting a COINTELPRO against the Klan and what 
the FBI considered to be other "White Hate" organizations {e.g., 
American Nazi Party, National States Rights Party) "to expose, dis- 
rupt, and otherwise neutralize" the activities of the groups, "their 
leaders, and adherents." ^^° 

During the 1964-1971 period, when the program was in operation, 
287 proposals for COINTELPRO actions against Klan and "White 
Hate" groups were authorized by FBI headquarters.^^^ Covert tech- 
niques used in this COINTELPRO included creating new Klan chap- 
ters to be controlled by Bureau informants and sending an anonymous 
letter designed to break up a marriage.^®^ 

(2) ''BUch Nationalist'' COINTELPRO.— Th^ stated strategy of 
the "Black Nationalist" COINTELPRO instituted in 1967 was "to 
expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" such 
groups and their "leadership, spokesmen, members, and supporters." 
The larger objectives were to "counter" their "propensity for violence" 
and to "frustrate" their efforts to "consolidate their forces" or to "re- 
cruit new or youthful adherents." Field offices were instructed to 
exploit conflicts within and between groups; to use news media con- 
tacts to ridicule and otherwise discredit groups; to prevent "rabble 
rousers" from spreading their "philosophy" publicly; and to gather 
information on the "unsavory backgrounds" of group leaders.^^^ 

In March 1968, the program was expanded from twenty-three to 
forty-one field offices and the following long-range goals were set 
forth : 

(1) prevent the "coalition of militant black nationalist 

(2) prevent the rise of a "messiah" who could "unify and 
electrify" the movement, naming specifically Dr. Martin Lu- 
ther King, Jr., Stokely Carmichael, and Elijah Muhammed ; 

(3) prevent violence by pinpointing "potential trouble- 
makers" and "neutralizing" them before they "exercise their 
potential for violence;" 

(4) prevent groups and leaders from gaining "respectabil- 
ity" by discrediting them to the "responsible" Negro com- 
munity, the "responsible" white community, "liberals" with 

'^'Memorandum from J. H. Gale to Mr. Tolson, 7/30/64 (Gale was Assistant 
Director for the Inspection Division). 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 9/2/64. 

^ The average of 40 "White Hate" actions per year may be compared to an 
average of over 100 per year against the Communist Party from 1956-1971 
(totalling 1636). Exhibit 11, Hearings, vol. 6, p. 371. 

^^ These techniques and those used against the other target groups referred 
to below are discussed in greater detail in the COINTELPRO detailed report 
and in the Covert Action section of the Findings. Part III. p. 211. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC«, 8/25/67. 


"vestiges of sympathy" for militant black nationalists, and 
"Negro radicals;" and 
(5) "prevent these groups from recruiting young people." ^^* 

After the Black Panther Party emerged as a group of national stat- 
ure, FBI field offices were instructed to develop "imaginative and 
hard-hitting counterintelligence measures aimed at crippling the 
BPP." Particular attention was to be given to aggravating conflicts 
between the Black Panthers and rival groups in a number of cities 
where such conflict had already taken on the character of "gang war- 
fare with attendant threats of murder and reprisals." ^^^ 

During 1967-1971, FBI headquarters approved 379 proposals for 
COINTELPRO actions against "black nationalists." ^^'^ These opera- 
tions utilized dangerous and unsavory techniques which gave rise to 
the risk of death and often disregarded the personal rights and dignity 
of the victims. 

(3) ''New Left'' COINTELPRO.— The most vaguely defined and 
haphazard of the COINT'ELPRO operations was that initiated 
against the "New Left" in May 1968. It was justified to the FBI 
Director by his subordinates on the basis of the following considera- 
tions : 

The nation was "undergoing an era of disruption and 
violence" which was "caused to a large extent" by individ- 
uals "generally connected with the New Left." 

Some of these "activists" were urging "revolution" and 
calling for "the defeat of the United States in Vietnam." 

The problem was not just that they committed "unlawful 
acts," but also that they "falsely" alleged police brutality, 
and that they "scurrilously attacked the Director and the Bu- 
reau" in an attempt to "hamper" FBI investigations and to 
"drive us off the college campuses." ^^"^ 

Consequently, the COINTELPRO was intended to "expose, disrupt, 
and otherwise neutralize" the activities of "this group" and "persons 
connected with it." ^^^ The lack of any clear definition of "New Left" 
meant, as an FBI supervisor testified, that "legitimate" and nonvio- 
lent antiwar groups were targeted because they were "lending aid and 
comfort" to more disruptive groups.^*® 

Further directives issued soon after initiation of the program 
urged field offices to "vigorously and enthusiastically" explore "every 
avenue of possible embarrassment" of New Left adherents. Agents 
were instructed to gather information on the "immorality" and the 
"scurrilous and depraved" behavior, "habits, and living conditions" 
of the members of targeted frroups.^®" This messasre was reiterated 
several months later, when the offices were taken to task for their 
failure to remain alert for and seek specific data denicting the "de- 
praved nature and m6ral looseness of the New Left" and to "use this 

'^* IVTemorandum from FBT Hefidqiiarters to all SACs. 3/4/68. 

'*' Mpmorandum from FBI Headquarters to SACs. 11/25/68. 

^The average was over 90 per year. (Exhibit 11. Hearings. Vol. 6, p. 371.) 

®^ Memorandum from C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 5/9/68. 

'** C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 5/9/68. 

^ Supervisor, FBI Intelligence Division, 10/28/75, p. 39. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 5/23/68. 


material in a vigorous and enthusiastic approach to neutralizing 
them." 3^^ ^ 

In July 1968, the field offices were further prodded by FBI head- 
quarters to : 

(1) prepare leaflets using "the most obnoxious pictures" 
of New Left leaders at various universities ; 

(2) instigate "personal conflicts or animosities" between 
New Left leaders ; 

(3) create the impression that leaders are "informants 
for the Bureau or other law enforcement agencies" (the 
"snitdi jacket" technique) ; 

(4) send articles from student or "underground" news- 
papers which show "depravity" ("use of narcotics and free 
sex") of New Left leaders to university officials, donors, 
legislators, and parents ; 

(5) have members arrested on marijuana charges; 

(6) send anonymous letters about a student's activities to 
parents, neighbors, and the parents' employers ; 

(7) send anonymous letters about New Left faculty mem- 
bers (signed "A Concerned Alumni" or "A Concerned Tax- 
payer") to university officials, legislators, Board of Regents, 
and the press ; 

(8) use "cooperative press contacts;" 

(9) exploit the "hostility" between New Left and Old Left 

(10) disrupt New Left coffee houses near military bases 
which are attempting to "influence members of the Armed 

(11) use cartoons, photographs, and anonymous letters to 
"ridicule" the New Left ; 

(12) use "misinformation" to "confuse and disrupt" New 
Left activities, such as by notifying members that events 
have been cancelled. ^^- 

During the period 1968-1971, 291 COINTELPRO actions 
against the "New Left" were approved by headquarters.^^^ Particular 
emphasis was placed upon preventing the targeted individuals from 
public speaking or teaching and providing "misinformation" to con- 
fuse demonstrators. 

h. FBI Target Lists 

The FBI's most intensive domestic intelligence investigations and 
COINTELPRO operations were directed against persons identified, 
not as criminals or criminal suspects, but in vague terms such as 
"rabble rouser," "agitators," "key activists," or "key black extremists." 
The Secruity Index for detention in time of national emergency was 
revised to include such persons. 

(1) ''RahhJe Pi ouser/ Agitator'' /7?rf6!.7'.— Following a meeting with 
the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders in August 1967, 
Director Hoover ordered his subordinates to intensify collection of 

^" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs. 10/9/68. 
=»' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all RACs, 7/6/68. 
^"^Approximately 100 per year (Exhibit 11, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 371.). 


intelligence about "vociferous rabble-rousers." ^^^* He also directed 
"that an index be compiled of racial agitators and individuals who 
haA^e demonstrated a potential for fomenting racial discord." ^^* 

The already vague standards for the Rabble Rouser Index were 
broadened in November 1967 to cover persons with a "propensity for 
fomenting" any disorders affecting the "internal security" — as opposed 
to only racial disorders — and to include persons of local as well as 
national interest. This included "black nationalists, white suprema- 
cists, Puerto Rican nationalists, anti-Vietnam demonstration leaders, 
and other extremists." A rabble rouser was defined as : 

a person who tries to arouse people to violent action by 
appealing to their emotions, prejudices, et cetera; a 

In March 1968, the Rabble Rouser Index was renamed the Agitator 
Index and field offices were ordered to obtain a photograph of each 
person on the Index. ^^'^ However, expanding the size of the Agitator 
Index lessened its value as an efficient target list for FBI intelligence 
operations. Consequently, the Bureau developed a more refined tool 
for this purpose — the Key Activist Program. 

(2) '■''Key Activisf Program. — Instructions were issued to ten ma- 
jor field offices in January 1968 to designate certain persons as "Key 
Activists," who were defined as 

individuals in the Students for Democratic Society and the 
anti-Vietnam war groups [who] are extremely active and 
most vocal in their statements denouncing the United States 
and calling for civil disobedience and other forms of unlaw- 
ful and disruptive acts. 

There Avas to be an "intensive investigation" of each Key Activist, 
which might include "high-level informant coverage" and "technical 
surveillances and physical surveillances." ^^^ 

The "New Left" COINTELPRO was designed in part to "neutral- 
ize" the Key Activists, who were "the moving forces behind the New 
Left." ^^® One of the first techniques employed in this program was to 
obtain the Federal income tax returns of Key Activists for use in 
disrupting their activities.^"^ In October 1968, the Key Activist Pro- 
gram was expanded to virtually all field offices. The field agents were in- 
structed to recommend additional persons for the program and to 
"consider if the individual was rendered ineffective would it curtail 
[disruptive] activity in his area of influence." AVhile the FBI consid- 
ered Federal prosecution a "logical" result of these investigations and 
"the best deterrent," Key Activists were not selected because they were 
suspected of committing or planning to commit any specific Federal 
crime. •*°" 

^"Memorandum from C. D. DeLoach to Mr. Tolson. 8/1/67. (At the meeting, 
a Commission member had asked the Bureau to "identify the numher of militant 
Negroes and whites.") 

^* Memorandum from C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 8/3/67 ; SAC Letter 
67-.56, 9/12/67. 

^ SAC Letter No. 67-70. 11/28/67. 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs. 3/21/68. 

'" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 1/30/68. 

^' Memorandum from C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 5/9/68. 

^ Memorandum from C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan. 5/24/68. 

*°" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 10/24/68. 


(3) ^''Key Black Extremist'*'' Program. — A "Key Black Extremist" 
target list for concentrated investigation and COINTELPRO actions 
was instituted in 1970. Key Black Extremists were defined as 

leaders or activists [avIio] are particularly extreme, agitative, 
anti-Government, and vocal in their calls for terrorism and 
violence. ^"^ 

Field offices were instructed to place all Key Black Extremists in the 
top priority category of the Security Index and in the Black Nation- 
alist Photograph Album, which concentrated on "militant black 
nationalists'' who traveled extensively. In addition, the following steps 
were to be taken : 

(1) All aspects of the finances of a KBE must be deter- 
mined. Bank accounts must be monitored, . . . 

(2) Continuing consideration must be given by each office 
to develop means to neutralize the effectiveness of each 
KBE. ... 

(3) Obtain suitable handwriting specimens. . . . 

(4) Particular efforts should be made to obtain records of 
and/or reliable witnesses to, inflammatory statements. . . . 

(5) Where there appears to be a possible violation of a 
statute within the investigative jurisdiction of the Bureau, 
[it should be] vigorously investigated. . . . 

(6) Particular attention must be paid to travel by a KBE 
and every effort made to determine financial arrangements 
for such travel. . . . 

(7) The Federal income tax returns of all KBEs must be 
checked annually. . . . 

Reports on all Key Black Extremists were to be submitted every ninety 
days, and the field was urged to use "initiative and imagination" to 
achieve "the desired results." ■*°^ Once again, the "result" was not 
limited to prosecution of crimes and the targets were not chosen 
because they were suspected of committing crimes. 

(4) Security Index. — The Agitator Index was abolished in 1971 
because "extremist subjects" were "adequately followed" through the 
Security Index.*°* In contrast to the other indices, the Security Index 
was not revieAved by the FBI alone. It had, from the late 1940's, been 
largely a joint FBI- Justice Department program based on the De- 
partment's plans for emergency detention.*"^ According to FBI mem- 
oranda, moreover, President Johnson was directly involved in the 
updating of emergency detention plans.*°^ 

After a large-scale Alarch on the Pentagon against the Vietnam War 
in October 1967, President Johnson ordered a comprehensive review 
of the government's emergency plans. Attorney General Clark was 
appointed chairman of a committee to review the Presidential Emer- 
gency Action Documents (PEADs) prepared under the Emergency 
Detention Program. One result of this review, in which the FBI took 
part, was a decision to bring the Detention Program into line with the 

"' Memorandum from G. C. Moore to C. D. Brennan, 12/22/70. 
"'Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 12/23/70. 
^ Memorandum from C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 4/30/68. 
"^ See pp. .54-.55. 
"^ C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 4/30/68. 


Emergency Detention Act of 1950, reversing the previous decision to 
"disregard" as "unworkable" the procedural requirements of the Act, 
which were tighter than the standards which had been applied by FBI 
and Justice.*"'^ 

The Bureau also had to revise its criteria for inclusion of names on 
the Security Index, which since 1950 had disregarded the statutory 
standards. However, the definition chosen of a "dangerous individual" 
was so broad that it enabled the Bureau to add persons not previously 
eligible. A "dangerous individual" was defined as a 

person as to whom there is reasonable ground to believe that 
such person probably will engage in, or probably will conspire 
with others to engage in, acts of espionage and sabotage, 
including acts of terrorism or assassination and any inter- 
ference loith or threat to the survival of and effective opera- 
tion of the national, state, and local governments and of the 
national defense effort. [Emphasis added.] ^°^ 

The emphasized language greatly broadened the Security Index stand- 
ards. It gave FBI intelligence officials the opportunity to include on 
the Security Index "racial militants", "black nationalists", and in- 
dividuals associated with the "New Left" who were not affiliated with 
the "basic revolutionary organizations" as the Bureau characterized 
the Communist Party, which had previously been the focus of the 
Security Index.^°^ Once again, the limitations which a statute was 
intended to impose were effectively circumvented by the use of elastic 
language in a Presidential directive. 

Moreover, the Bureau adopted a new "priority" ranking for appre- 
hension in case of an emergency. Top priority was now given not only 
to leaders of "basic subvereive organizations," but also to "leaders of 
anarchistic groups." ^^" It was said to be the "anarchistic tendencies" 
of New Left and racial militants that made them a "threat to the 
internal security." ^^^ 

Initially, the justice Department approved informally these changes 
in the criteria for "the persons listed for apprehension." ^^^ After 
several months of "study," the Justice Department's Office of Legal 
Counsel formally approved the new Security Index criteria. This was 
the first time since 1955 that the Department had fully considered 
the matter, and the previous policy of disregarding the procedures 
of the Emergency Detention Act of 1950 was formally abandoned. 
If an emergency occurred, the Attorney General would abide by "the 
requirement that any person actually detained will be entitled to a 
hearing at which time the evidence will have to satisfy the standards 
of [the Actl." However, the Office of Lesral Counsel declared that the 
Security Index criteria themselves could be — as they were — less precise 
than those of the Act because of the "needed flexibility and discretion 
at the operating level in order to carry on an effective surveillance 

^ See pn. 54-55 and Report on FBI Investigations. 

"^ Presidential Emergency Action Document 6, as quoted in Brennan to Sulli- 
van. 4/30/68. 

*•* Memorandum from C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan. 4/30/68. 

"" C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 4/30/68. 

*** C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 4/30/68. 

*" Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to J. Walter Yeagley, 5/1/68 ; Yeagley 
to Hoover, 6/17/68. 


program." *^^ Thus, while the plan to ignore Congress' procedural 
limitations was abandoned, Congress' substantive standards were dis- 
regarded as insufficiently "flexible." 

c. Internal Revenue Service Programs 

(1) Misuse hy FBI and 01 A. — IRS information was used as an 
instrument of domestic intelligence mainly by the FBI. For example, 
in 1965, the Bureau obtained the tax returns of Ku Klux Klan mem- 
bers in order to develop "discrediting or embarrassing" information 
as part of the Bureau's COINTELPRO against the Klan."* 
The procedure by which FBI obtained access to tax returns and related 
information held by IRS was deemed "illegal" when it was discovered 
by the Chief of the IRS Disclosure Branch in 1968."^ The FBI had 
not followed the procedures for obtaining returns which required 
written application to the IRS Disclosure Branch. Instead the Bureau 
had arranged to obtain the returns and information surreptitiously 
through contacts inside the IRS Intelligence Division. The procedure 
for FBI access was regularized by the IRS after 1968 : a formal request 
on behalf of the Bureau was made to the IRS Disclosure Branch, by 
the Internal Security Division of the Justice Department. 

During this same period, the CIA was obtaining tax returns in a 
manner similar to the FBI, although in much smaller numbers. Yet 
even after procedures were changed for the FBI's access to tax in- 
formation in 1968, the IRS did not re-examine the CIA's practices.*^® 
Therefore, CIA continued to receive tax return information without 
filing requests as required by the regulations. 

Between 1968 and 1974, either directly or through the Internal 
Security Division of the Justice Department, the FBI requested at 
least 130 tax returns for domestic intelligence purposes. This included 
the returns of 46 "New Left activists" and 74 "black extremists," *^^ as 
part of Bureau COINTELPRO operations to "neutralize" these indi- 
viduals.*^^ These requests were not predicated upon any specific in- 
formation suggesting delinquency in fulfilling tax obligations. 

Even after a formal request was required before supplying the FBI 
with tax returns, the IRS accepted the Justice Department's undocu- 

"' Among the criteria specifically approved by the Justice Department which 
went beyond the statutory standard of reasonable likelihood of espionage and 
sabotage were the expanded references to persons who have "anarchistic or 
revolutionary beliefs" and are "likely to seize upon the opportunity presented 
by a national emergency" to commit acts which constitute "interference with" 
the "effective operation of the national, state and local governments and of the 
defense effort." (Assistant Attorney General Frank M. Wozencraft, Office of 
Legal (Counsel, to Assistant Attorney General J. Walter Yeagley, Internal 
Security Division, 9/9/68.) The standards as approved were transmitted to the 
FBI, and its Manual was revised accordingly. (Yeagley to Hoover, 9/19/68; 
Hoover to Yeagley, 9/26/68; FBI Manual, Section 87, p. 45, revised 10/14/68.) 
The FBI still maintained its Reserve Index, unbeknownst to the Department. 

*" One of the express purposes was to use tax information to "expose" the Klan 
membens "within the Klan organization [or] publicly by showing income beyond 
their means." (Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to W. C. Sullivan, 
5/10/65. ) Disclosure of tax information "publicly" or "within the Klan organiza- 
tion" is prohibited by statute. 

*" Memorandum from D. O. Virdin to H. E. Snyder, 5/2/68. Subject : Inspection 
of Returns by FBI. 

*"' Donald O. Virdin testimony, 9/16/75, pp. 69-73. 

"■^ Staff Memorandum : Review of Materials in FBI Administrative File on 
"Income Tax Returns Requested." 

*" Memorandum from C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 12/6/68. 


mented assertions that tax information was "necessary" in connection 
with an "official matter" involving "internal security." ^^^ Yet in mak- 
ing such assertions, the Justice Department's Internal Security Divi- 
sion relied entirely on the Bureau's judgment. Thus, while the IRS is 
required by the statute to release tax information only where neces- 
sary, it in effect delegated its responsibility to the Internal Security 
Division which in turn delegated the decision to the FBI. Although 
most FBI requests for tax information were for targets of various 
COINTELPRO operations, the Justice Department official who made 
the requests on behalf of the Bureau said he was never informed of the 
existence of COINTELPRO.^='° 

Even after 1968, the Bureau sometimes used tax information in 
improper or unlawful ways. For example, the Bureau attempted to 
use such information to cause IRS to audit a mid- western college pro- 
fessor associated with "new left" activities at the time he was planning 
to attend the 1968 Democratic Party National Convention in Chicago. 
The FBI agent in charge of the operation against the professor ex- 
plained its purpose in a memorandum : 

if IRS contact with [the Professor] can be arranged within 
the next two weeks their demands upon him may be a source 
of distraction during the critical period when he is engaged 
in meetings and plans for disruption of the Democratic Na- 
tional Convention. Any drain upon the time and concentra- 
tion which [the Professor], a leading figure in Demcon 
planning, can bring to bear upon this activity can only accrue 
to the benefit of the Government and general public.'*^^ 

Among the tax returns which the CIA obtained informally from 
IRS in an informal and illegal manner were those of the author of a 
book, the publication of which the CIA sought to prevent,*^^ and of 
Ramparts magazine which had exposed the CIA's covert use of the 
National Student Association.*^^ In the latter case, CIA memoranda 
indicate that its officials were unwilling to risk a formal request for 
tax information without first learning through informal disclosure 
whether the tax returns contained any information that would be 
helpful in their effort to deter this "attack on the CIA" and on "the 
administration in general." *^* 

(2) The Special Serince Staff: IRS Targeting of Ideological 
Groups. — In 1969, the IRS established a Special Service Staff to 
gather intelligence on a category of taxpayers defined essentially by 
political criteria. The SSS attempted to develop tax cases against the 
targeted taxpayers and initiated tax fraud investigations against some 
who would otherwise never have been investigated. 

The SSS originated as a result of pressure from the permanent Sub- 
committee on Investigations of the Senate Committee on Government 
Operations ^^^ and from President Nixon, acting through Wliite House 

"' Leon Green deposition, 9/12/75, pp. 6-8. 

^° Statement of .T. W. Yeagley to Senate Select Committee, September 197.5. 

*^ Memorandum from Midwest City Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 8/1/68. 

*^ CIA memorandum. Subject : BUTANE— Victor Marchetti. 

*" CIA memorandum. Subject : IRS Briefing on Ramparts, 2/2/67. 

"* CIA memorandum. Subject : IRS Briefing on Ramparts, 2/2/67. 

*^ Leon C. Green testimony. 9/12/75, p. 36. 


assistants Tom Charles Huston and Dr. Arthur Bums.*^^ According 
to the IRS Commissioner's memorandum, Dr. Burns expressed to him 
the President's concern 

over the fact that tax-exempt funds may be supporting activ- 
ist groups engaged in stimulating riots both on the campus 
and within our inner cities.*^'' 

The administration did not supply any facts to support the assertion 
that such groups were violating tax laws. 

After the SSS was established, the FBI and the Justice Depart- 
ment's Interdivisional Information Unit (IDIU) became its largest 
sources of names. An Assistant IRS Commissioner requested the FBI 
to provide information regarding "various organizations of predomi- 
nantly dissident or extremist nature and/or people prominently identi- 
fied within those organizations." *-^ The FBI agreed, believing, as 
one intelligence official put it, that SSS would "deal a blow" to "dis- 
sident elements." ^^^ 

Among the material received bv SSS from the FBI was a list of 
2,800 organizations categorized as "Old Left." "New Left," and "Right 
Wing." «o The SSS also received about 10,000 names on IDIU com- 
puter printouts.*^^ SSS opened files on all these taxpayers, many of 
whom Avere later subjected to tax audits and some to tax fraud investi- 
gations. There is no reason to believe that the names listed by the FBI 
or the IDILT were selected on the basis of any probable noncompliance 
with the tax laws. Rather, these groups and individuals were targeted 
because of their political and ideological beliefs and activities.*^^ 

The SSS, by the time it was disbanded in 1973, had gone over 
approximately half of the IDIU index and established files on those 
individuals on whom it had no file. Names on the SSS list included 
Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, Senators Charles Goodell and 
Ernest Gruening, Congressman Charles Diggs, journalists Joseph 
Alsop and Jimmv Breslin, and attorney Mitchell Rogovin. Organiza- 
tions on the SSS list included : political groups ranginar from the John 
Birch Society to Common Cause ; religious organizations such as the 
B'nai Brith Antidefamation League and the Associated Catholic 
Charities ; professional associations such as the American Law Insti- 
tute and the Legal Aid Society ; private foundations such as the Car- 
negie Foundation; publications ranging from "Playboy" to "Com- 
monwealth;" and government institutions including the United 
States Civil Rights Commission.*^^ 

SSS officials have conceded that some cases referred to the field for 
tax investiirations would not have qualified for referral but for the 
ideological categoiy in which they fell. "VVliile IRS field offices closed 
out many cases because of the lack of tax grounds upon which legal 

*^ "Investigation of the Special Service Staff of the IRS" by the staff of the 
Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation, 6/5/75. pp. 17-18. 
*" Memorandum of IRS Commissioner Thrower, 6/16/69. 
*^ Memorandum from D. W. Bacon to Director, FBI. 8/8/69. 
*^ Memorandum from D. T. Brennan, .Jr.. to W. C. Sullivan, 8/15/69. 
^'^ SSS Bi-weeklv Report, 6/15/70. 
*^ SSS Bi-weekly Report. 8/29/69. 

*^For a discussion of IDTT^ standards, see pp. 7R-81. 122-123. 
*" Donald Alexander testimony, 10/2/25, Hearings, Vol. 3, pp. 29-30. 


action could be taken, referral from the SSS probably resulted in the 
examination of some cases despite the lack of adequate grounds. Inter- 
views wtih IRS field personnel confirm that this did occur in several 

Upon discovering that its functions were not tax-related, new IRS 
Commissioner Alexander ordered the Special Service Staff abolished. 
He testified: 

Mr. Alexander. I ordered the Special Service staff abol- 
ished. That order was given on August the 9th, 1973. It was 
implemented by manual supplements issued on August the 
13th, 1973. We held the files. I ordered the files be held intact— 
I'm not going to give any negative assurances to this Com- 
mittee — in order that this Committee and other Committees 
could review these files to see what was in them, and see what 
sort of information was supplied to us on this more than 
11,000 individuals and organizations as to whom and which 
files were maintained. 

I suggested, Mr. Chairman, that at the end of all of these 
inquiries, I would like to take those files to the Ellipse and 
have the biggest bonfire since 1814. 

The Chatrmax. Well, I concur in that judgment. I would 
only say this to you ; in a way, it might be a more important 
bonfire than the Boston Tea Party when it comes to protect- 
ing individual rights of American citizens. I am glad you 
feel that way. I am glad you took that action.*^* 

5. Foreign Intelligence and Domestic Dissent 

In the late 1960's, CIA and NSA, acting in response to presidential 
pressure, turned their technological capacity and great resources to- 
ward spying on certain Americans. The initial impetus was to deter- 
mine whether the antiwar movement — and to a lesser extent the 
"black power" movement — were controlled by foreigners. Despite evi- 
dence that there was no significant foreign influence, the intelligence 
gathering which culminated in CIA's "Operation CHAOS" followed 
the general pattern of broadening in scope and intensity. The pro- 
cedure for one aspect of these programs was established by an informal 
agreement between the CIA and FBI in 1966, which permitted CIA to 
engage in "internal security" activities in the United States. 

a. Origins of CIA Involvement in ''''Internal Security Func- 

The National Security Act of 1947 explicitly prohibited the CIA 
from exercising "police, subpoena, or law-enforcement powers, or 
internal security functions." But the Act did not address the question 
of the CIA's authority to conduct clandestine intelligence acti\dty 
within the United States for what Secretary Forrestal called "pur- 
poses outside of this country." *^^ 

Under Director Hoover, the FBI interpreted the term "internal 
security functions" broadly to encompass almost "anything that CIA 

«3« Grepn. 9/12/75, pp. 65-66, 73-74; Statpment of Auditor, San Franeisco Dis- 
trict. 7/30/75. p. 1 ; statempnt of Collector. T/Os Angreles District, 8/3/75. 

*^ Donald Alexander testimony, 10/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 3, pp. 10-11. 

**Hearinp:s before the House Committee on Expenditures in the Executive 
Departments, on H.R. 2319, 80th Cong. (1947), p. 127. 


might be doing in the United States." *^^ Throughout the 1950's and 
into the early 1960's, Director Hoover's position led to jurisdictional 
conflicts between the CIA and the FBI. 

The Bureau insisted on being informed of the CIA's activity in the 
United States so that it could be coordinated with the Bureau. As the 
FBI liaison with the CIA in that period recalled, "CIA would take 
a<jtion, it would come to our attention and we would have a flap." "^^^ 

In 1966 the FBI and CIA negotiated an informal agreement to regu- 
larize their coordination. This agreement was said to have "led to a 
great improvement" and almost eliminated the "flaps." ^^^ 

Under the agreement, the CIA would "seek concurrence and coordi- 
nation of the FBI" before engaging in clandestine activity in the 
United States and the FBI would "concur and coordinate if the pro- 
posed action does not conflict with any operation, current or planned, 
including active investigation of the FBI." ^^^ "WTien an operative 
recruited by the CIA abroad arrived in the United States, the FBI 
would "be advised" and the two agencies would "confer regarding the 
handling of the agent in the United States." The CIA would continue 
its "handling" of the agent for "foreign intelligence" purposes. The 
FBI would also become involved where there were "internal security 
factors," although it was recognized that the CIA might continue to 
"handle" the agent in the United States and provide the Bureau with 
"information" bearing on "internal security matters." **° 

As part of their handling of "internal security factors," CIA opera- 
tives were used after 1966 to report on domestic "dissidents" for the 
FBI. There were infrequent instances in which, according to the for- 
mer FBI liaison with CIA : 

CIA had penetrations abroad in radical, revolutionary 
organizations and the individual was coming here to attend a 
conference, a meeting, and would be associating with leading 
dissidents, and the question came up, can he be of any use to 
us, can we have access to him during that period. 

In most instances, because he was here for a relatively short 
period, we would levy the requirement or the request upon the 
CIA to find out what was taking place at the meetings to get 
his assessment of the individuals that he was meeting, and any 
other general intelligence that he could collect from, his asso- 
ciations with the people who were of interest to us.**^ 

The policies embodied in the 1966 agreement and the practice under 
it clearly involved the CIA in the performance of "internal security 

"* Former FBI Liaison with CIA testimony, 9/22/75, p. 9. 

*^ Former FBI liaison with CIA testimony, 9/22/75, pp. 9-11. 

*^ Liaison, 9/22/75. p. 11. For a discussion of liaison problems between FBI 
and riA in 1970. see pp. 112-113. 

*^ Liaison, 9/22/75, p. 52. "Central Intelligence Agency Operations in the 
United States," FBI-CIA Memorandum of Understanding, 2/7/66. 

*** Liaison, 9/22/75, p. 55. 

*" Liaison, 9/22/75, pp. 57-58. These "internal security" aspects of the 1966 
FBI-CIA agreement were not the only pre-CHAOS arrangements bringing the 
CIA into liaison with the FBI. For example, as early as 1963 the FBI Manual 
was revised to state that information concerning "proposed travel abroad" by 
domestic "subversives" was to be "furnished by the Bureau to the Department 
of State" and the "Central Intelligence Agency :" and fiekl offices were advised 
to recommend the "extent of foreign investigation" which was required. (FBI 
Manual Section 87, p. 33a, revised 4/15/63.) 

B-786 O - 76 - 8 


functions." At no time did the Executive branch ask Congress to amend 
the 1947 act to modify its ban against CIA exercising "internal secu- 
rity functions." Nor was Congress asked to clarify the ambiguity of the 
1947 act about the CIA's authority to conduct clandestine foreign 
intelligence and counterintelligence activities within the United States, 
a matter dealt with even today by Executive Order.*'*^ 

Moreover, National Security Council Intelligence Directive 5 pro- 
vided authority within the Executive Branch for the Director of Cen- 
tral Intelligence to coordinate, and for the CIA to conduct, counter- 
intelligence activities abroad to protect the United States against not 
only espionage and sabotage, but also "subversion." ^^^ However, 
NSCID 5 did not purport to give the CIA authority for counter- 
intelligence activities in the United States, as provided in the FBI- 
CIA agreement of 1966. 

h. CIA Intelligence About Domestic Political Groups 
In the late 1960s, the CIA increasingly was drawn into collecting 
intelligence about domestic political groups, particularly the anti-war 
movement, in response to FBI requests and to pressure from Presidents 
Johnson and Nixon. A principal assistant to President Johnson testi- 
fied that high governmental officials could not believe that 

a cause that is so clearly right for the country, as they per- 
ceive it, would be so widely attacked if there were not some 
[foreign] force behind it.*** 

The same pressures and beliefs led to CIA investigations of "militant 
black nationalists" and radical students. 

(1) CIA Response to FBI Requests. — The FBI was the main chan- 
nel for mobilizing foreign intelligence resources and techniques 
against domestic targets. The FBI regularly notified the CIA that it 
wished coverage of Americans overseas.***^ Indeed, the CIA regarded 
the mention of a name in any of the thousands of reports sent to it 
by the FBI as a standing requirement from the FBI for information 
about those persons.*^^ FBI reports flowed to the CIA at a rate of 
over 1,000 a month.**^ From 1967 to 1974, the CIA responded with 
over 5,000 reports to the FBI. These CIA disseminations included some 
reports of information acquired by the CIA in the course of its own 
operations, not sought in response to a specific FBI request.**^ 

The FBI's broad approach to the investigations of foreign influ- 
ence which it coordinated with the CIA is shown by a memorandum 

"* President Ford's Executive Order 11905, 2/18/76. This order, discussed more 
fully in Part IV. Recommendations, in effect reinforces the 1966 FBI-CIA agree- 
ment and defines CIA counterintelligence duties abroad to include "foreign sub- 
version" directed against the United States. 

"^ The National Security Council Intelligence Directives, or NSCIDs, have been 
promulgated by the National Security Council to provide the basic organization 
and direction of the intelligence agencies. 

*" .Joseph Califano testimony, 1/27/76, p. 70. 

*^" Richard Ober testimony, 10/30/75, p. 88. 

"' Ober, 10/28/75, p. 45. 

"® Memorandum from Richard Ober to James Angleton, 6/9/70, p. 9. 

*" Letter from Director W. Colby to Vice President Rockefeller, 8/8/75, p. 6 of 


prepared in the Intelligence Division early in 1969 summarizing its 
"coverage of the New Left :" 

Foreign influence of the New Left movement offers us a 
fertile field to develop valuable intelligence data. To date there 
is no real cohesiveness between international New Left groups, 
but . . . despite the factionalism and confusion now so preva- 
lent, thei^e is great potential for the development of an inter- 
national student revolutionary movement. [Emphasis added.] 

The memorandum expressed concern that "old line" leftist groups 

. . . making a determined effort to move into the New Left 
movement , . . [and were] influencing the thinking of the 
New Left . . . against the police in general and the FBI in 
particular, to drive us off the campuses; as well as attacks 
against the new administration to degrade President 

There was no mention of, or apparent concern for, direct influence or 
control of the "New Left" by agents of hostile foreign powers. In- 
stead, the stress was almost entirely upon ideological links and sim- 
ilarities, and the threat of ideas considered dangerous by the FBI. 

The enlistment of both CIA and NSA resources in domestic intel- 
ligence is illustrated by the "Black Nationalist" investigations. In 
1967, FBI Headquarters instructed field offices that : 

. . . penetrative investigations should be initiated at this 
time looking toward developing any information regarding 
contacts on the part of these individuals with foreign elements 
and looking toward developing any additional information 
having a bearing upon whether the individual involved is cur- 
rently subjected to foreign influence or direction. ... 

During your investigative coverage of all militant black 
nationalists, be most alert to any foreign travel. Advise the 
Bureau promptly of such in order that a'pj)rofirate overseas 
investigations may be conducted to establish activities and 
contacts abroad. [Emphasis added.] **^ 

The FBI passed such information to the CIA, which in turn began 
to place individual black nationalists on a "watch list" for the inter- 
ception of international communications by the National Security 
Agency. After 1969, the FBI began submitting names of citizens en- 
gaged in domestic protest and violence to the CIA not only for in vest i- 
galtion abroad, but also for placement on the "watch list" of the CIx^'s 
mail opening project. Similar lists of names went from the FBI to the 
National Security Agency, for use on a "watch list" for monitoring 
other channels of international communication. 

(2) Operati&n- CHAOS.— The CIA did not restrict itself to servic- 
ing the FBI's requests. Under White House pressure, the CIA devel- 
oped its own program — Operation CHAOS — as an adjunct to the 

*** Memorandum from C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan re New Left Move- 
ment, 2/3/69. 
**» SAC Letter No. 67-66, 11/7/67. 


CIA's foreign coim:terintellij?ence activities, although CIA officials 
recognized from the outset that it had "definite domestic counterin- 
telligence aspects." ^^° 

Former CIA Director Richard Helms testified that he established 
the program in response to President Johnson's persistent interest in 
the extent of foreign influence on domestic dissidents. According to 
Helms, the President would repeatedly ask, "How are you getting 
along with your examination?" and "Have you picked up any more 
information on this subject ?" *^^ 

The fii-st CHAOS instructions to CIA station chiefs in August 1967 
described the need for "keeping tabs on radical students and U.S. 
Negro expatriates as well as travelers passing through certain select 
areas abroad." The originally stated objective was "to find out [the] 
extent to which Soviets, Chicoms (Chinese Communists) and Cubans 
are exploiting our domestic problems in terms of espionage and sub- 
version." *^^ 

Following the consistent pattern of intelligence acti^dties, those 
original instructions gradually broadened without any precision in the 
kind of foreign contacts which were to be targeted by CIA operations. 
For example : 

—President Johnson asked the CIA to conduct a study of 
"International Connections of the U.S. Peace Movement" fol- 
lowing the October 1967 demonstration at the Pentagon.*^^ 
In response, CIA headquarters sent a directive to CIA sta- 
tions seeking information on "illegal and subvei'sive" connec- 
tions between U.S. ac^ti^^sts and "communist, communist 
front, or other anti-American and foreign elements abroad. 
Such connections might range fix)m casual confactfi based 
merely on Tnutual interest to closelv controlled channels for 
party directives." [Emphasis added.] ^^* 

—In mid-1968, the DDP described CHAOS to CIA stations 
as a "high priority program" concerning foreign "contacts" 
with the "Radical Left," which was defined as : "radical stu- 
dents, antiwar activists, draft resisters and deserters, black 
nationalists, anarchists, and assorted 'New Leftists.' " ^^^ 

— In 1969, President Nixon's A^Hiite House required the 
CIA to study foreign commimist support of American protest 
groups and stressed that "support" should be "liberally con- 
strued" to include "encouragement" by Communist coun- 
tries. ^^^ 

— In the fall of 1969, CIA stations were asked to report on 
any foreign support, guidance, or "inspiration" to protest 
activities in the United States.^^^ 

*°° Memorandum from Thomas Karamessines to .Tames Angleton, 8/15/67, p. 1. 

*^* Helms, Rockefeller Commission, 4/28/75, pp. 2434-2435. 

■^^ CIA Headquarters cable to several field stations, August, 1967, p. 1. 

^^ Memorandum from Richard Helms to President .Tohn.son, 11/15/67. 

*" VIA Cable from Acting DDP to various field stations, November 1967, 
pp. 1-2. 

*^ CIA Cable from Thomas Karamessines to various field stations, .Tuly 1968, 

*^ Memorandum from Tom Huston to the Deput.v Director, CIA, 6/20/69, p. 1. 

*^' Cable from CIA headquarters to stations, November 1969. 


Thus, this attempt to ascertain and evaluate "foreign links" was so 
broadly defined that it required much more than background infor- 
mation or investigation of a few individuals suspected of being agents 
directed by a hostile power. Instead, at a time when there was 
considerable international communication and travel by Americans 
engaged in protest and dissent, a substantial segment by American 
protest groups was encompassed by CIA collection requirements to 
investigate foreign "encouragement," "inspiration," "casual contacts" 
or "mutual interest." Once again, the use of elastic words in mandates 
for intelligence activity resulted in overbroad coverage and collection. 

In addition to their intelligence activity directed at Americans 
abroad, CHAOS undercover agents, while in the United States in 
preparation for overseas assignment or between assignments, provided 
substantial information about lawful domestic activities of dissident 
American groups, as well as providing leads about possible foreign 
ties.^^^ In a few instances, the CIA agents appear to have been encour- 
aged to participate in specific protest activity or to obtain particular 
domestic information.*^^ The CHAOS program also involved obtain- 
ing information about xlmericans from the CIA mail opening project 
and other domestic CIA components *^° and from a National Security 
Agency international communications intercept program.**'^ 

CIA officials recognized that the CIA's examination of domestic 
groups violated the Agency's mandate and thus accorded it a high 
degree of sensitivity. As CIA Director Richard Helms wrote in 1969, 
when he transmitted to the White House the CIA's study of "Restless 

In an effort to round out our discussion of this subject, we 
have included a section on American students. This is an area 
not within the charter of this Agency, so I need not emphasize 
how extremely sensitive this makes the paper. Should anyone 
learn of its existence, it would prove most embarrassing for 
all concerned.*^^ 

The reaction to such admissions of illegality was neither an instruction 
to stop the program or an attempt to change the law. Rather, the "White 
House continued to ask for more information and continued to urge 
the CIA to confirm the theory that American dissidents were under 
foreign control.**^^ 

Director Richard Helms testified that the only manner in which 
the CIA could support its conclusion that there was no significant 
foreign influence on the domestic dissent, in the face of incredulity 
at the White House, was to continually expand the coverage of 
CHAOS. Only by being able to demonstrate that it had investigated 
all anti-war persons and all contacts between them and any foreign 

*^ Charles Marcnles testimony, Rockefeller Commission, 3/10/75. pp. 1538-1547, 
1566-1567: Ober, 9/24/75, p. 4(5. (For security reasons, the CHAOS agent case 
officer testified as "Charles Marcnles".) 

*'" Marcnles Contact Report, 4/17/71 ; Marcnles, Rockefeller Commission, 3/10/ 
75. pp. 15.56-1 .558. 

^ Memorandum from Richard Ober to Chief, CI Project, 2/15/72. 

«>' Ober, ]0/.30,75 pp. 16-17. 

*^- Letter from Richard Helms to Henry Kissinger, 2/18/69. 

*^ Richard Helms deposition. Rockefeller Commission, 4/24/75, p. 223. 


person could CIA "prove the negative" that none were under foreign 

In 1972, the CIA Inspector General found "general concern" among 
the overseas stations "over wliat appeared to constitute a monitoring 
of the political views and activities of Americans not known to be, or 
suspected of, being involved in espionage." Several stations had "doubts 
as to the nature and legitimacy of the program" because requests for 
reports on "prominent persons" were based on "nebulous" allegations 
of "subversion." ^^^ This led to "a reduction in the intensity of attention 
to political dissidents," ^^^ although the program was not terminated 
until March 1974.*" 

By the end of the CHAOS program, 13,000 different files were accu- 
mulated, including more than 7,200 on American citizens. Documents 
in these files included the names of more than 300,000 persons and 
groups, indexed by computer.*^^ In addition to collecting information 
on an excessive number of persons, some of the kinds of information 
were wholly irrelevant to the legitimate interests of the CIA or any 
other government agency. For example, one CIA agent supplying 
information on domestic activities to Operation CHAOS submitted 
detailed accounts of the activities of Avomen who were interested in 
"women's liberation." *^^ 

c. CIA Security Operations Within the United States: Pro- 
tecting '■^Sources'''' and ''^Methods'''' 

The National Security Act of 1947 granted the Director of Central 
Intelligence a vaguely-worded responsibility for "protecting intelli- 
gence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure." *"° The 
legislative history of this provision suggests that it was initially 
intended to allay concerns of the military services that the new CIA 
would not operate with adequate safeguards to protect the military 
intelligence secrets which would be shared with the CIA.*^^ However, 
this authority was later read by the CIA to authorize infiltration of 
domestic groups in order to protect CIA personnel and facilities from 
possibly violent public demonstrations. It was also read to permit 
electronic surveillance and surreptitious entry to protect sensitive 

The CIA undertook a series of specific security investigations within 
the United States, in some cases to find the source of news leaks and 
in others to determine whether government employees were involved 
in espionage or otherwise constituted "security risks." These investiga- 
tions were directed at former CIA employees, employees of other 
government agencies, newsmen and other private citizens in this 
countrv.*^^ Among the techniques used were physical surveillance, 

*" Helms deposition, Rockefeller Commission, 4/24/75, p. 234 ; Ober deposition, 
Rockefeller Commission. 3/28/75, pp. 137-138. 

**' Memorandum from Inspector General to Executive Director-Comptroller, 
11/9/72. p. 1. 

**" Memorandum from Executive Director-Comptroller to DDP, 12/20/72. 

*" Cable from CTA Director William Colby to Field Stations, March 1974. 

"^ Rockefeller Commission Report, p. 23. 

*** Aeent 1. Contact Report, Volume II, Agent 1 file. 

*'° 50 U.S.C. 403(d)(3). 

"^ Lawrence Houston testimony. Rockefeller Commission. 3/17/75, pp. 16.54- 

*'^ Rockefeller Commission Report, pp. 162-166. 


mail and tax information coverage, electronic surveillance, and sur- 
reptitious entry. Attorney General Robert Kennedy appears to have 
authorized CIA wiretapping in one of these investigations. Witli this 
exception, however, there is no suggestion that the CIA's security 
investigations were specifically approved by the Attorney General.*^^ 

The CIA Office of Security established two programs directed at 
pix)test demonstrations which involved the CIA in domestic affairs 
on the theorv that doing so Avas necessary to safeguard CIA facilities 
in the United States.*"* Proiect MERRIMACK (1967 to 1973) in- 
volved the infiltration by CIA agents of Washington-based peace 
groups and Black activist groups. The Stated purpose of the piT)gram 
was to obtain early warning of demonstrations and other physical 
threats to the CIA. However, the collection requirements were broad- 
ened to include general information about the leadership, funding, 
activities, and policies of the targeted groups. 

Project RESISTANCE (1967 to 1973) was a broad effort to obtain 
general background information about radical groups across the coun- 
try, particularly on campuses. The CIA justified this program as a 
means of predicting violence which might threaten CIA installations, 
recruiters, or contractors, and gathering information with which to 
evaluate applicants for CIA employment. Much of the reporting by 
CIA field offices to headquarter was from open sources such as news- 
papers. But additional information was obtained from cooperating 
police departments, campus officials, and other local authorities, 
some of whom in turn were using collection techniques such as 

These programs illustrated fundamental weaknesses and contra- 
dictions in the statutory definition of CIA authority in the 1947 Act. 
"N^Hiile the Director of Central Intelligence is charged with responsi- 
bility to protect intelligence "sources and methods," the CIA is for- 
bidden from exercising law enforcement and police powers and 
"internal securitv functions.'' The CIA never went to Congress for 
a clarification of this ambiguity, nor did it seek interpretation from 
the chief legal officer of the United States — the Attorney General — 
except on the rarest of occasions.*^^ 

"^ According to a "memorandum for the record" sent by CIA General Counsel 
Lawrence R. Houston to Deputy Attorney General William P. Rogers in 1954. an 
agreement was reached at that time allowing the CIA to investigate on its own 
any "actual or probable violation of criminal statutes" involving the CIA's 
"covert operations" and to determine for itself, without consulting the .Justice 
Department, whether there were "possibilities for prosecution." The Justice 
Department would not be informed if the CIA decided that there should be 
no prosecution on the ground that it might lead to "revelation of highly classified 
information." (Memorandum from Houston to Rogers, 3/1/54, and enclosed 
memorandum from Houston to the Director of Central Intellieence, 2/23/54.) 

This practice was reviewed and re-confirmed internally within the CIA on at 
least two subsequent occasions. (Memorandum from Houston to the Assistant 
to the Director, CIA, 1/6/60 ; memorandum from Houston to the Deputy Director 
of Centml Intelligence. 6/10/64.) It was not terminated until 1975. (Memo- 
randiim from .Tohn S. Warner. CIA Gf^nt-rai Counsel, for the record. 1/31/75.) 

*'' These CIA activities. Projects MERRIMACK and RESISTANCE, were de- 
scribed in great detail bv the Rockefeller Commission. (Rockefeller Commission 
Renort. Cbs. 12 and 13.) " 

"" The Rockefeller Commission Report describes ". . . two cases in which tele- 
phones of three new.smen were tapped . . . [One] occurred in 1962. apparently 
with the knowledge and consent of Attorney General Kennedy." (Rockefeller 
Commission Report, p. 164.) 


d. NSA Monitoring 

The National Security Agency was created by Executive Order in 
1952 to conduct "signals intelligence," including the interception and 
analysis of messages transmitted by electronic means, such as tele- 
phone calls and telegrams.^'^ In contrast to the CIA, there has never 
been a statutory "charter" for NSA. 

The executive directives which authorize NSA's activities prohibit 
the agency from monitoring communication between persons within 
the United States and communication concerning purely domestic 
affairs. The current NSA Director testified : 

[The] mission of NSA is directed to foreign intelligence ob- 
tained from foreign electrical communications. . . .*^^ 

However, NSA has interpreted "foreign communications" to include 
communication where one terminal is outside the United States. Under 
this interpretation, NSA has, for many years, intercepted communica- 
tions between the United States and a foreign country even though 
the sender or receiver was an American. During the past decade, NSA 
increasingly broadened its interpretation of "foreign intelligence" 
to include economic and financial matters and "international 
terrorism." ^^^ 

The overall consequence, as in the case of CIA activities such as 
Project CHAOS, was to break down the distinction between "foreign" 
and "domestic" intelligence. For example, in the 1960s, NSA began 
adding to its "watch lists," at the request of various intelligence agen- 
cies, the names of Americans suspected of involvement in civil dis- 
turbance or drug activity which had some foreign aspects. Second, 
Operation Shamrock, which began as an effort to acquire the tele- 
grams of certain foreign targets, expanded so that NSA obtained from 
at least two cable companies essentially all cables to or from the 
United States, including millions of the private communications of 

6. Intrusive Techniques 

As domestic intelligence activity increasingly broadened to cover 
domestic dissenters under many different programs, the government 
intensified the use of covert techniques which intruded upon individual 

Informants were used to gather more information about more 
Americans, often targeting an individual because of his political views 
and "regardless of past or present involvement in disorders." *®^ The 
CIA's mail opening program increasingly focused upon domestic 
groups, including "protest and peace organizations" which were cov- 
ered at the FBI's request.^^* Similarly, NSA — largely in response to 
Army, CIA, and FBI pressures — expanded its international intercep- 
tion program to include "information on U.S. organizations or indi- 
viduals who are engaged in activities which may result in civil 

*" Memorandum from President Truman to Secretary of Defense, 10/24/52. 

*™ General Lew Allen testimony, 10/29/75, Hearings, Vol. 2, p. 6. 

*^" Allen, 10/29/75, Hearings, vol. 2, p. 11. The programs of NSA are discussed 
further in the succeeding section, "Intrusive Techniques," p. 183. 

"*' Memorandum from FBI Executive Conference to Mr. Tolson, 10/29/70. See 
pp. 74-76. 

^^ Memorandum from Hoover to Angleton, 3/10/72. 


disturbances or otherwise subvert the national security of the United 
States." *«^ 

During this period, Director Hoover ordered cutbacks on the FBI's 
use of a number of intrusive techniques. Frustration with Hoover's 
cutbacks was a substantial contributing factor to the effort in 1970 — 
coordinated by White House Aide Tom Charles Huston and strongly 
supported by CIA Director Helms, NSA Director Gaylor and 
Hoover's Intelligence Division subordinates — to obtain Presidential 
authorization for numerous illegal or questionable intelligence 

a. Warrantless Electromc Surveillance 

(1) Executive Branch Restrictions on Electronic Surveillance: 
1965-1968. — In March 1965, Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzen- 
bach established a new requirement for the FBI's intelligence opera- 
tions : the Bureau had to obtain the written approval of the Attorney 
General prior to the implementation of any microphone surveillance. 
He also imposed a six month limitation on both wiretaps and micro- 
phone surveillances, after which time new requests had to be sub- 
mitted for the Attorney General's re-authorization.*^*^ 

Upon Katzenbach's recommendation, President Johnson issued a 
directive in June 1965 forbidding all federal government wiretapping 
"except in conjunction with investigations related to national 
security." *^^ This standard was reiterated by Attorney General Katzen- 
bach, for both wiretapping and microphone surveillances three months 
later, and again in July 1966.*®^^ 

While the procedures were tightened, the broad "national security" 
standard still allowed for questionable authorizations of electronic 
surveillance. In fact, Katzenbach told Director Hoover that he would 
"continue to approve all such requests in the future as I have in the 
past." He saw "no need to curtail any such activities in the national 
security field." *®® 

In line with that policy, Katzenbach approved FBI requests for 
wiretaps on the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee,*^^ 
Students for a Democratic Society,*^" the editor of an anti-communist 
newsletter,* ^^ a Washington attorney with whom the editor was in 
frequent contact,*''^ a Klan official ,*^^ and a leader of the black Revolu- 
tionary Action Movement.*^* According to FBI records, Katzenbach 
also initialed three memoranda informing him of microphone surveil- 
lances of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.*^^ 

'^Memorandum from NSA MINARET Charter, 7/1/69. 

**" Memorandum from Hoover to Katzenbach, 3/30/65. 

*®^ Memorandum from President Johnson to Heads of Departments, 6/30/65. 

**" Memorandum from Katzenbach to Hoover, 9/27/65 ; Supplemental Memo- 
randum to the Supreme Court in Black v. United States, July 13, 1966. 

Katzenbach also stated to Hoover that while he believed such techniques 
could be properly used in cases involving organized crime, he would not approve 
any such requests in the immediate future "in liffht of the present atmosphere." 

*^ Memorandum from Katzenbach to Hoover, 9/27/65. 

** Memorandum from Hoover to Katzenbach, 6/15/65. 

**" Memorandum from Hoover to Katzenbach, 5/25/65. 

**' Memorandum from Hoover to Katzenbach, 4/19/65, .see footnote 266. 

"^ Memorandum from Hoover to Katzenbach, 6/7/65, see footnote 266. 

**' Memorandum from Hoover to Katzenbach, 9/28/64. 

*** Memorandum from Hoover to Katzenbach, 3/3/65. 

"^Memoranda from Hoover to Katzenbach, 5/17/65, 10/19/65, 12/1/65. 


There were no similar electronic surveillance authorizations by 
Attorney General Ramsey Clark in cases involving purely domestic 
"national security" considerations.^^*' Clark has stated that his policy 
was "to confine the area of approval to international activities directly 
related to the military security of the United States/^'^ 

(2) Omnibus Grime Control Act of 1968. — In response to a 1967 
Supreme Court decision that required judicial warrants for the use of 
electronic surveillance in criminal cases,*^^ Congress enacted the Omni- 
bus Crime Control Act of 1968. This Act established warrant proce- 
dures for wiretapping and microphone surveillances, but it included a 
provision that neither it nor the Federal Communications Act of 1934 
"shall limit the constitutional power of the President." ^^^ Although 
Congress did not purport to define the President's power,^°° the Act 
suggested five broad categories in which warrantless electronic sur- 
veillance might be permitted. The first three categories related to 
foreign intelligence and counterintelligence matters : 

(1) to protect the nation against actual or potential attack 
or other hostile acts of a foreign power; 

(2) to obtain foreign intelligence information deemed essen- 
tial to the security of the United States; and 

(3) to protect national security information against for- 
eign intelligence activities. 

The last two categories dealt with domestic intelligence interests : 

(4) to protect the United States against overthrow of the 
government by force or other unlawful means, or 

(5) against any other clear and present danger to the struc- 
ture or existence of the government. 

Thus, although Congress suggested criteria for warrantless electronic 
surveillance for intelligence purposes, it left to the courts the task of 
defining the scope of the national security exception, if any, to the 
warrant requirement. 

Between 1969 and 1972, the Nixon administration used these criteria 
to justify a number of questionable wiretaps. One New Left organiza- 
tion was tapped because, among other factors, its members desired 
to "take the radical politics they learned on campus and spread them 
among factory workers." ^°^ Four newsmen were wiretapped or bugged 
during this period, as were sixteen executive branch officials, one 

^**' For example, Clark turned down FBI requests to wiretap the National 
Mobilization Committee Office for Demonstrations at the Democratic National 
Convention in Chicago in 1968. (Memoranda from Hoover to Clark 3/11/68, 
3/22/68, 6/11/68). Clark decided that there was not "an adequate demonstration 
of a direct threat to the national security." (Clark to Hoover, 3/12/68) (These 
memoranda appear at Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 740-755. 

*®'' Clark has stated that he denied requests "to tap Abba Eban when he was 
on a visit to this country, an employee of the United Nations Secretariat, the 
Organization of Arab Students in the TT.S.. the Tanzanian Mission to the T^N.. 
the offif^e of the Agricultural Counselor at the Soviet Embassy and a correspondent 
of TASS." [Statement of Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Hearings 
before the Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure, Committee 
on the Judiciary, TTnited States Sennte (1974).! 

*^ Katz V. Umtcd States, 897 U.S. 347 (1967). This case explicitly left open 
the question of warrantless electronic surveillance in "situation (s) involving 
the national secnritv." (397 U.S., at 358 n. 23.) 

''MR U.S.C. 2511(3). 

^""See ZJnitPd States v. United States Distriet Court. 407 U.S. 297 (1972). 

^^ Memorandum from Hoover to Attorney General Mitchell, 3/16/70. 


former executive official, and a relative of an executive official." ^°^ 
There were numerous wiretaps and some microphones used against the 
Black Panther Party and similar domestic groups.^"^ Attorney Gen- 
eral Jolm Mitchell approved FBI requests for wiretaps on organiza- 
tions involved in planning the November 1969 antiwar "March on 
Washington," including the moderate Vietnam Moratorium Com- 

(3) Supreme Court Restrictions on National Security Electronic 
Surveillance : 1972. — ^^The issue of national security electronic surveil- 
lance was not addressed by the Supreme Court until 1972, when it held 
in the so-called Keith case that the President did not have the "con- 
stitutional power" to authorize warrantless electronic surveillance to 
protect the security of the nation from "domestic" threats.^"* The Court 
still remained silent, however, on the legality of warrantless electronic 
surveillance where there was a "significant connection with a foreign 
power, its agents or agencies." ^°^ As a result of this decision, the Jus- 
tice Department eliminated as criteria for the use of warrantless elec- 
tronic surveillance the two categories, described by Congress in the 
1968 Act, dealing with domestic intelligence interests.^"^ 

h. CIA Mail Opening 
Although Director Hoover terminated the FBI's own mail opening 
programs in 1966, the Bureau's use of the CIA program continued. In 
1969, upon the recommendation of the official in charge of the CIA's 
CHAOS program, the FBI began submitting names of domestic po- 
litical radicals and black militants to the CIA for inclusion on its mail 
opening "Watch List." ^"^ By 1972, the FBI's list of targets for CIA 
mail opening included : 

New Left activists, extremists, and other subversives. 

Extremist and New Left organizations. 

Protest and peace organizations, such as People's Coalition 
for Peace and Justice, National Peace Action Committee, and 
Women's Strike for Peace. 

Subversive and extremist groups, such as the Black Pan- 
thers, White Panthers, Black Nationalists and Liberation 
Groups, Students for a Democratic Society, Resist, Revolu- 
tionary Union, and other New Left Groups. 

^ See Findings C and E. pp. 183 and 225. 

^^ For example, at one time in March 1971 the FBI was conducting one micro- 
phone surveillance of Black Panther Party leader Huey Newton, seven wire- 
taps of Black Panther Party offices including Newton's residence, one wiretap 
on another hlack extremist group, one wiretap on .Jewish Defense League head- 
quarters, one wiretap on a "New Left extremist group", and two wiretaps on 
"New Left extremist activities." (Memorandum from W. R. Wannall to C. D. 
Brennan, ,3/29/71, printed in Hearings. Vol. II, pp. 270-271.) 

^■^ Memoranda from Hoover to Attorney General Mitchell, 11/5/69 and 
11/7/69. This and other aspects of electronic surveillance in this period are 
di.scussed in Findings C and E in greater detail, pp. 183 and 225. 

^ rnitcd FifaicH v. Uuifed Statesi Dif^trict Court. 407 U.S. 297 (1972). 

^Fnifrd f^tnfrs v. United S!tatcf< District Cniirt. 407 U.S.. at 309 (1972). 

^^Nlemorandum from William Olson to Elliott Richardson. .Tune 1973. Until 
1975. however, the .Justice Department stretched the term "connection with a 
foreign power" to include domestic groups, such as the .Jewish Defense League, 
whose protest actions against a foreign nation were helieved to threaten the 
JT^nited States' relations with that nation. [Zwcihon v. Mitchell, 516 F. 2d 594 
(D.r. Cir. 1975).] 

^ Memorandum from FBI/CIA Liaison Agent to D. J. Brennan, 1/16/69. 


Traffic to and from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands 
showing anti-U.S. or subversive sympathies.^"^ 

Thus, the mail opening program that began fourteen years earlier as a 
means of discovering hostile intelligence efforts in the United States 
had expanded to encompass communications of domestic dissidents of 
all types. 

c. Expansion of NSA Monitoring 

Although NSA began to intercept and disseminate the communica- 
tions of selected Americans in the early 1960s, the systematic inclu- 
sion of a wide range of American names on the "Watch List" did not 
occur until 1967. 

The Army Chief of Staff for Intelligence requested "any informa- 
tion on a continuing basis" that NSA might intercept concerning : 

A. Indications that foreign governments or individuals or 
organizations acting as agents of foreign governments are 
controlling or attempting to control or influence the activities 
of U.S. "peace" groups and "Black Power" organizations. 

B. Identities of foreign agencies exerting control or influ- 
ence on U.S. organizations. 

C. Identities of individuals and organizations in U.S. in 
contact with agents of foreign governments. 

D. Instructions or advice being given to U.S. groups by 
agents of foreign governments.^"^ 

Two years later, NSA issued an internal instruction intended to 
ensure the secrecv of the fact that it was monitorins: and disseminat- 
ing communications to and from Americans.^" This memorandum 
described the ""VVatch List" program in terms which indicated that 
it had widened beyond its originally broad mandate. In addition to 
describing the program as covering foreigners who "are attempting" 
to "influence, coordinate or control" U.S. groups or individuals who 
"may foment civil disturbance or otherwise undermine the national 
security of the LT.S.," the memorandum indicated that the program 
intercepted communications dealing with : 

Information on U.S. organizations or indi\nduals who are 
engaged in activities which may result in civil disturbances 
or otherwise subvert the national security of the U.S.^" 

This standard, which was clearly outside the foreign intelligence 
mandate of NSA, resulted in sweeping coverage. Communications 
such as the following were intercepted, disseminated, and stored in 
Government files: discussion of a peace concert; the interest of the 
wife of a U.S. Senator in peace causes ; a correspondent's report from 
Southeast Asia to his magazine in New York ; an anti-war activist's 
request for a speaker in New York. 

According to testimony before the Committee, the material which 
resulted from the "Watch List" was of little intelligence value ; most 

^Routing Slip from J. Edgar Hoover to James Angleton (attachment), 

'<* DOD Cable, Tarborough to Carter, 10/20/67. 

"" NSA's name, for example, was to be kept off any of the disseminated 

"^MINARET Charter, 7/1/69. 


intercepted commimications were of a private or personal nature or 
involved rallies and demonstrations that were public knowledge.^^^ 

d. FBI Cutbacks 

The reasons for J. Edgar Hoover's cutback in 1966 on FBI use of 
several covert techniques are not clear. Hoover's former assistants 
have cited widely divergent factors. 

Certainly by the mid-1960s. Hoover was highly sensitive to the 
possibility of damage to the FBI from public exposure of its most 
intrusive intelligence techniques. This sensitivity was reflected in a 
memorandum to Attorney General Katzenbach in September 1965, 
where Hoover referred to "the present atmosphere" of "Congressional 
and public alarm and opposition to any activity which could in any 
way be teraied an invasion of privacy." ^^^ The FBI Director was 
particularly concerned about an inquiry by the Subcommittee on 
Administrative Practice and Procedure of the Senate Judiciary Com- 
mittee chaired by Senator Edward Long. 

(1) The Long Suhcommiftee Investigation. — The Senate Subcom- 
mittee was primarily investigating electronic surv^eillance and mail 
cover. The Bureau was seen as a major subject of the inquiry, al- 
though the Internal Revenue Service and other Executive agencies 
were also included. 

In February 1965, President Johnson asked Attorney General 
Katzenbach to coordinate all matters relating to the investigation, 
and Katzenbach then met with senior FBI officials to discuss the 
problems it raised.^^^ According to a memorandum by A. H. Belmont, 
one of the FBI Director's principal assistants, Katzenbach stated 
that he planned to see Senator Edward Long, the Subcommittee 
chairman, for the purpose of "impressing on him that the committee 
would not want to stumble by mistake into an area of extreme inter- 
est to the national security." According to Belmont, the Attomey 
General added that he "might have to resort to pressure from the 
President" and that he did not want the Subcommittee to "under- 
mine the restricted and tightly controlled operations of the Bureau." 
FBI officials had assured Katzenbach that their activities were, in- 
deed, "tightly controlled" and restricted to "important security 
matters." ^^^ 

The following note on the memorandum of this meeting provides 
a sign of Director Hoover's attitude at that time : 

I don't see what all the excitement is about. I would have no 
hesitancy in discontinuing all techniques — ^technical cover- 
age, microphones, trash covers, mail covers, etc. "V^Tiile it 
mi.qht handicap us I doubt they are as valuable as some 

'^'W. R. Wnnnall (TBI Assistant Director for Intelliffence). 10/3/75. p. 13. 
"Tlie feeling is tliat there was very little in the way of good product as a result of 
our hiving supplied names to NSA." 

^Memornndum from Hoover to Katzenhach. O/l-^/GS. This memorandum dealt 
specifically with electronic sur^'eillance and did not mention mail openings or 
"Black Bag .Tohs." Hoover said the FBI had "discontinuefl" microphone surveil- 
lances Chugs), a restriction which xVttorney General Katzenbach said went too 
far. (Kntzenhaph to Hoover. 9/27/65.) 

"^Memor.nndnm from A. H. Belmont to Mr. Tolson, 2/27/65. Katzenbach testi- 
mouv. 12/3/75. Hearings. Vol. 6. p. 204. 

^" Memorandum from A. H. Belmont to C. Tolson, 2/27/65. 


believe and none warrant the FBI being used to justify 

Several days later, according to a memorandum of the FBI Director, 
the Attorney (ienerai "aavised that he had tallied to benator I^ong," 
and that tlie beiiator "saia lie did not want to get into any national 
security area." ^^'^ Katzenbach has conhrmed that he "would have been 
concerned" in these circumstances about the Subcommittee s demands 
for information about "matters of a national security nature-' and that 
he was "declining to provide such information" to Long.^^'^ 

Again in 196(5, the FBI took steps to, in the words of Bureau of- 
ficial Cartha DeLoach, "neutralize" the ''threat of being embarrassed 
by the Long Subcommittee." ^-° This time the issue involved war- 
rantless electronic surveillance by the FBI, particularly in organized 
crime matters. DeLoach and another ranking Bureau official visited 
Senator Long to urge that he issue a statement that "the FBI had 
never participated in uncontrolled usage of wiretaps or microphones 
and that FBI usage of such devices had been completely justified in all 
instances." ^^^ The Bureau prepared such a statement for Senator 
Long to release as his own, which apparently was not used."- At 
another meeting with DeLoach, Senator Long agreed to make "a 
commitment that he would in no way embarrass the FBI." When the 
Subcommittee's Chief Counsel asked if a Bureau spokesman could 
appear and "make a simple statement," DeLoach replied that this 
would "open a Pandora's box, in so far as our enemies in the press 
were concerned." Senator Long then stated that he would call no 
FBI witnesses.^2^ 

(2) Director Hoover'' 8 Restrictions. — The Director subsequently 
issued instructions that the number of warrantless wiretaps installed 
at any one time be cut in half. One of his subordinates speculated 
that this was done out of a concern that the Subcommittee's "inquiry 
might get into the use of that technique by the FBI." "* 

In July 1966, after hundreds of FBI "black bag job" operations 
had been approved over many years. Director Hoover decided to 
eliminate warrantless surreptitious entries for purposes other than 
microphone installations.^^s jj^ response to an Intelligence Division 
analysis that such break-ins were an "invaluable technique," although 
"clearly illegal," Hoover stated that "no more such techniques must 
be used." "^ Bureau subordinates took Hoover's "no more such tech- 

"■^ Hoover Note on Belmont Memorandum to Tolson, 2/27/65. 

^® Memorandum from Hoover to Tolson, et al., 3/2/65. 

*"• Katzenbach testimony. 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 205-206. 

^'"' Memorandum from DeLoach to Tolson, 1/21/66. 

^'^ Memorandum from DeLoach to Tols-^n. 1/10/66. 

^ Memorandum from M. A. Jones to Robert Wick, 1/11/66. 

"^ Memorandum from DeLoach to Tolson, 1/21/66. 

^C. D. Brennan deposition. 9/23/75, p. 42. 

^According to FBI records and the recollections of Bureau agents, the fol- 
lowing number of microphone surveillances involving "surreptitious entry" were 
installed in "internal secvirity. intelligence, and coimterintelligence" investiga- 
tions : 1964 : 80 : 1965 : 59 : 1966 : 4 : 1967 : : 1968 : 9 : 1969 : S : 1970 : 15 : 1971 : 6 
1972 : 22 : 1973 : 18 : 1974 : 9 : 1975 : 13. The similar figures for "criminal investiga 
tions" (including installations authorized bv judicial warrant after 1968) are 
1964 : 83 : 1965 : 41 ; 1966 : ; 1967 : : 1968 : : 1969 : 3 : 1970 : 8 : 1971 : 7 : 1972 
19- 1973: 27; 1974: 22; 1975: 11. (Memorandum from FBI to Select Committee 

"'Hoover note on memorandum from Sullivan to DeLoach, 7/19/66. This 
memorandum cited as a "prime example" of the utilitv of a "black bag jobs" a 
break-in to steal records of three high-ranking Klan oflBcials relating to finances 


niques" language as an injunction against the Bureau's mail opening 
program as well.^-^ Apparently, a termination order was issued to 
field offices by telephone. FBI mail-opening was suspended, al- 
though the Bureau continued to seek information from CIA's illegal 
mail-opening program until its suspension in 1973. 

A year and a half before Hoover's cutbacks on wire-tapping, "black 
bag jobs," and mail-opening, he prohibited the FBI's use of other 
covert techniques such as mail covers and trash covers.^^^ 

FBI intelligence officials persisted in requesting authority for "black 
bag" techniques. In 1967 Director Hoover ordered that "no such rec- 
ommendations should be submitted." ^-^ At about this time. Attorney 
General Ramsey Clark was asked to approve a "breaking and enter- 
ing" operation and declined to do so.^^° There was an apparently un- 
authorized surreptitious entry directed at a "domestic subversive tar- 
get" as late as April, 1968.^^^ A proposal from the field to resume mail 
opening for foreign counterintelligence purposes was turned down by 
FBI officials in 1970.^^2 

7. Accountahility and Control 

a. Tlie Huston Plan: A Domestic Intelligence Network 

In 1970, pressures from the TNHiite House and from within the in- 
telligence community led to the formulation of a plan for coordination 
and expansion of domestic intelligence activity. The so-called "Huston 
Plan" called for Presidential authorization of illegal intelligence tech- 
niques, expanded domestic intelligence collection, and centralized eval- 
uation of domestic intelligence. President Nixon approved the plan and 
then, five days later, revoked his approval. Despite the revocation of 
official approval, many major aspects of the plan were implemented, 
and some techniques which the intelligence community asked for 
permission to implement had already been underway. 

In 1970, there was an intensification of the social tension in America 
that had provided the impetus in the 1960s for ever- widening domestic 
intelligence operations. The spring invasion of Cambodia by United 
States forces triggered the most extensive campus demonstrations and 
student "strikes" in the history of the war in Southeast Asia. Domestic 
strife heightened even further when four students were killed by Na- 

and membership which "we have been using most effectively to disrupt the 

^^"Wannall, 10/13/75, pp. 45-46. There is to this day no formal order pro- 
hibiting FBI mail-opening, although Assistant Director Wannall contended that 
general FBI ^Manual instructions now applicable forbid any unlawful technique. 

^^ These techniques were not prohibited by law. Their use was banned in all 
cases, including serious criminal investigations and foreign counterintelligence 
matters. (Memorandum from W. C. Sullivan to A. H. Belmont. 9/30/64.) Mail 
covers, which may be used to identify from their exteriors certain letters which 
can then be opened with a .iudicial warrant, were reinstituted with Justice De- 
partment approval in 1971. (^Memorandum from Hoover to Mitchell, 7/27/71; 
Memorandum from Assistant Attorney General Will Wilson to Hoover, 9/31/71.) 

^^ Memorandum from Hoover to Tolson and DeLoach, 1/6/67. 

^^ "Once Mr. Hoover, apparently at the request of the National Security Agency, 
sought approval to break and enter into a foreign mission at the United Nations 
to procure cryptographic materials to facilitate decoding of intercepted trans- 
missions. The request was presented with some urgency, rejected and presented 
again on perhaps several occasions. It was never approved and constituted the 
only request of that kind." [Statement of former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, 
Hearings before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Practice 
and Procedure. (1974).! 

°^ Memorandum from FBI to Senate Select Committee, 2/23/75. 

^* Memorandum from W. A. Branigan to W. C. Sullivan, 3/31/70. 


tional Guardsmen at Kent State University. Within one twenty-four 
hour period, there were 400 bomb threats in New York City alone. To 
respond, White House Chief of Staff, H. K. Haldeman, assigned prin- 
cipal responsibility for domestic intelligence planning to staff assist- 
ant Tom Charles Huston.^^s 

Since June 1969, Huston had been in touch with the head of the 
FBI Domestic Intelligence Division, Assistant Director William C. 
Sullivan. Huston initially contacted Sullivan on President Nixon's be- 
half to request "all information possibly relating to foreign influences 
and financing of the New Left." ^^^ Huston also made similar requests 
to CIA, NSA, and the Defense Intelligence Agency. The quality of 
the data provided by these agencies, especially the FBI, had failed to 
satisfy Huston and Presidential assistant John Ehrlichman.^^^ There- 
after, Huston's continued discussions with Assistant Director Sulli- 
van convinced him that the restraints imposed upon domestic intelli- 
gence techniques by Director Hoover impeded the collection of im- 
portant information about dissident activity. ^^^ 

(1) Intelligence Commumty Pressures. — The interest of the White 
House in better intelligence about domestic protest activity coincided 
with growing dissatisfaction among the foreign intelligence agencies 
with the FBI Director's restrictions on their performance of foreign 
intelligence functions in America.^^^ 

The CIA's concerns crystallized in March 1970 when — as a result 
of a "flap" over the CIA's refusal to disclose information to the 
FBI— Hoover issued an order that "direct liaison" at FBI head- 
quarters with CIA "be terminated" and that "any contact with CIA 
in the future" was to take place "by letter only." ^^^ This order did 
not bar interagencj^ communication ; secure telephones were installed 
and working-level contacts continued. But the position of FBI 
"liaison agent" with CIA was eliminated.^^^ 

CIA Director Helms subsequently attempted to reopen the question 
of FBI cooperation with CIA requests for installing electronic 
surveillances and covering mail.^*° Hoover replied that he agreed with 
Helms that there should be expanded "exchange of information be- 
tween our agencies concerning New Left and racial extremist mat- 
ters." However, he refused the request for aid with electronic sur- 
veillance and mail coverage. Hoover cited the "widespread concern 

^ Memorandum from John R. Brown to H. R. Haldeman, 4/30/70. 

^ Memorandum from Sullivan to DeLoach, 6/20/69 ; Memorandum from Hus- 
ton to Hoover. 6/20/69. 

^ Tom Charles Huston testimony, 5/23/75, p. 19. 

^ Huston. 5/23/75, pp. 23, 28. 

^ Helms deposition, 9/10/75, p. 3 ; Bennett deposition, 8/5/75, p. 12 ; Gayler 
deposition, 6/19/75, pp. 6-7. As early as 1963, the FBI Director had successfully 
opposed a proposal to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board by 
CIA Director John McCone for expanded domestic wiretapping for foreign 
intelligence purposes. (Memorandum from W. C. Sullivan to C. D. DeLoach. 
3/7/70). In 1969. CIA Director Richard Helms was told by the Bureau, when he 
asked it to institute electronic surveillance on behalf of the CIA, that he should 
"refer such reqiiests directly to Attorney General for approval." (Memorandum 
from Sullivan to DeLoach, 3/30/70.) The administrators of NSA also failed to 
persuade Director Hoover to lift his restraints on foreign intelligence electronic 
surveillance. (Staff summary of Louis Tordella interview, 6/16/75.) 

^ Note bv Hoover on letter from Helms to Hoover. 2/26/70. 

^^ Former FBI Liaison with CIA testimony. 9/22/7.5. p. 3. 

""Memorandum from Sullivan to DeLoach, 3/30/70, pp. 1-2, 4. 


by the American public regarding; the possible misuse of this type of 
coverage." Their use in "domestic investigations'" posed legal problems 
not encountered "in similar operations abroad." Hoover added, "The 
FBI's eifectiveness has always depended in large measure on our 
capacity to retain the full confidence of the American people." ^^^ 

(2) The Interagency Committee Report. — In the following months, 
Tom Charles Huston arranged a meeting between President Nixon 
and the directors of the FBI, CIA, NSA, and DIA on June 5, 1970.^^- 
The President's emphasis was upon improved coordination among the 
agencies to strengthen their capabilities to collect intelligence about 
"revolutionary activism" and "the support — ideological and other- 
wise — of foreign powers" for these activities. The talking paper 
prepared by Huston for the President to read at the meeting declared, 
"We are now confronted wnth a new and grave crisis in our country — 
one which we know too little about.^^^ 

From this meeting emanated the Special Report of the Interagency 
Committee on Intelligence (Ad Hoc), prepared jointly by representa- 
tives of the FBI, CIA, NSA, and DIA, and submitted to the President 
a month later.^^^ The report presented the President a series of options, 
and Huston recommended that the President approve the following : 

(1) "coverage by NSA of the communications of U.S. 
citizens using international facilities;" 

(2) "intensification" of "electronic surveillances and pene- 
trations" directed at individuals and groups "who pose a 
major threat to the internal security" and at "foreign na- 
tionals" in the United States "of interest to the intelligence 
community ;" 

(3) removal of restrictions on "legal" mail coverage and 
relaxation of "restrictions on covert coverage" [mail open- 
ing] on "selected targets of priority foreign intelligence and 
internal security interest;" 

(4) modification of "present restrictions" on "surreptitious 
entry" to allow "procurement of vitally needed foreign cryp- 
tographic material" and "to permit selective use" against 
"high priority internal security targets;" 

(5) relaxation of "present restrictions" on the "develop- 
ment of campus sources" to permit "expanded coverage of 
violence-prone and student-related groups;' 

(6) "increased" coverage by CIA "of American students 
(and others) traveling or living abroad;" * 

(7) appointment of a "permanent committee consisting of 
the FBI, CIA, NSA, DIA, and the military counterintelli- 
gence agencies" to evaluate "domestic intelligence" and to 
"carry out the other objectives specified in the report." ^*^ 

Huston also raised and dismissed questions about the legality of 
two collection techniques in particular. "Covert [mail opening] cov- 

°" Memorandum from Hoovpr to Helms, 3/31/70. 

^ Huston deposition, 5/23/75, p. 32. 

^ Presidential Talking Paper, 6/5/70, from the Nixon Papers. 

"^ The report was written by the Research Section of the FBI Domestic Intel- 
ligence Division on the basis of committee decisions and FBI Director Hoover's 
revisions (Staff Summary of Richard Cotter interview, 9/15/75.) 

^ The seven recommendations were made in an attachment to a memorandum 
from Huston to Haldeman, 7/70. 

68-786 O - 76 - 9 


erage is illegal, and there are serious risks involved," he wrote. "How- 
ever, the advantages to be derived from its use outweigh the risks," ^*^ 
As for surreptitious entry, Huston advised: 

Use of this technique is clearly illegal : it amounts to burglary. 
It is also highly risky and could result in great embarrass- 
ment if exposed. However, it is also the most fruitful tool 
and can produce the type of intelligence which cannot be ob- 
tained in any other fashion." ^*^ 

Huston testified that his recommendations "reflected what I under- 
stood to be the consensus of the working group" of intelligence 
officials on the interagency committee.^*^ 

Just over a week later, the FBI, CIA, NSA, and DIA were advised 
by Huston that "the President has . . . made the following decisions" — 
to adopt all of Huston's recommendations.^*^ Henceforth, with Presi- 
dential authority, the intelligence community could intercept the 
international communications of Americans ; eavesdrop electronically 
on anyone deemed a "threat to the internal security ;" read the mail of 
American citizens; break into the homes of anyone regarded as a 
security threat ; and monitor the activities of student political groups 
at home and abroad. 

There is no indication that the President was informed at this time 
that NSA was already covering the international communications of 
Americans and had been doing so for domestic intelligence purposes 
since at least 1967. Nor is there any indication that he was told that the 
CIA was opening the mail of Americans and sharing the contents with 
the FBI and the military for domestic intelligence purposes. In effect, 
the "Huston plan" supplied Presidential authority for operations pre- 
viously undertaken in secret without such authorization. For instance, 
the plan gave FBI Assistant Director Sullivan the "support" from 
"responsible quarters" which he had believed necessary to resume the 
"black bag jobs"' and mail-opening programs Director Hoover had 
terminated in 1966.^^° 

Nevertheless, the FBI Director was not satisfied with Huston's 
memorandum concerning the authorization of the plan.^^^ Hoover 
went immediately to Attorney General Mitchell, who had not known 
of the prior deliberations or the President's "decisions." ^^^ In a memo- 
randum, Director Hoover said he would implement the plan, but only 
with the explicit approval of the Attorney General or the President : 

^*^ Memorandum from Huston to Haldeman, 7/70. 

^" Memorandum from Huston to Haldeman. 7/70. In using the word "bur- 
glary," Huston said he sought to "escalate the rhetoric ... to make it as 
bold as possible." He thought that, as a staff man, he should give the President 
"the worst possible interpretation of what the recommendation would result 
in." (Huston deposition. 5/22/75, p. 69.) 

"^ Huston deposition. 5/22/75. p. 8. 

^^^ Memorandum from Tom Charles Huston to Tntelligence Directors, 7/23/70. 

"™ Memorandum from Sullivan to DeLoach, 4/14/70. 

^ An assistant to the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency recalls agreeing 
with his superior that the memorandum from Huston to the intelligence directors 
showed that the White House had "passed that one down about as low as they 
could go" and that the absence of signatures by the President or his top aides 
indicated "what a hot potato it was." (Staff summary of James Stillwell inter- 
view, 5/21/75.) 

^'' Mitchell testimony, 10/24/75, Hearings, Vol. 4, p. 122. 


Despite my clear-cut and specific opposition to the lifting of 
the various investigative restraints referred to above and to 
the creation of a permanent interagency committee on do- 
mestic intelligence, the FBI is prepared to implement the 
instructions of the White House at your direction. Of course, 
we would continue to seek your specific authorization, where 
appropriate, to utilize the various sensitive investigative 
techniques involved in individual cases.^^^ 

CIA Director Helms shortly thereafter indicated his support for the 
plan to the Attorney General, telling him "we had put our backs into 
this exercise." ^^* Nonetheless, Mitchell advised the President to with- 
draw his approval."^ Huston was told to rescind his memorandum, 
and the White House Situation Room dispatched a message requesting 
its return.^^*' 

(3) Implementation. — The President's withdrawal of approval for 
the "Huston plan" did not, in fact, result in the termination of either 
the NSA program for covering the communications of Americans or 
the CIA mail-opening program. These programs continued without 
the formal authorization which had been hoped for.^^'' The directors 
of the CIA and NSA also continued to explore means of expanding 
their involvement in, and access to, domestic intelligence.^^^ A new 
group, the Intelligence Evaluation Committee (lEC), was created by 
Attorney General Mitchell within the Justice Department to consider 
such expansion.^^^ NSA, CIA, Army counterintelligence, and the FBI 

^°' Memorandum from Hoover to Mitchell, 7/25/70. 

*" Helms memorandum for the record, 7/28/70. 

'=' Mitchell. 10/24/75, Hearings, Vol. 4, p. 123. 

^^^ Huston deposition, 5/23/75, p. 56 ; staff summary of David McManus inter- 
view, 7/1/75. 

^' Director Helms thinks he told Attorney General Mitchell about the CIA 
mail program. Helms also believes President Nixon may have known tahout the 
program although Helms did not personally inform him. (Helms, 10/22/75, 
Hearings, Vol. 4, pp. 88-89.) Mitchell denied that Helms told him of a CIA mail- 
opening program and testified that the President had no knowledge of the 
program, "at least not as of the time we discusvsed the Huston Plan." (Mitchell, 
9/24/75, Hearings, Vol. 4, pp. 120, 138.) 

°°^ In March 1971, NSA Director Noel Gayler and CIA Director Helms met with 
Attorney General Mitchell and Director Hoover. According to Hoover's memo- 
randum of the meeting, it had been arranged by Helms to discuss "a broadening 
of operations, particularly of the very confidential type in covering intelligence 
botli domestic and foreign." Hoover was again "not enthusiastic" because of 
"the hazards involved." Mitchell asked Helms and Gayler to prepare "an in-depth 
examination" of the collection methods they desired. (Memorandum for the files 
by J. Edgar Hoover, 4/12/71.) It was less than two months after this meeting 
that, according to a CIA memorandum, Director Helms briefed Mitchell on the 
mail program. (CIA memorandum for the record, 6/3/71.) Even before this meet- 
ing, NSA Director Gayler sent a memorandum to Attorney General Mitchell and 
Defense Secretary Melvin Laird describing "NSA's Contribution to Domestic 
Intelligence." This memorandum refers to a disctission with both Mitchell and 
Laird on how NSA could assist with "intelligence bearing on domestic problems." 
The memorandum mentioned the monitoring of foreign siipport for subversive 
activities, as well as for drug trafficking, although it did not discuss specifically 
the NSA "Watch List" of Americans. (Memorandum from NSA Director Noel 
Gayler to the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General. .lanuary 26, 1971.) 
NSA official Benson Buffham recorded that he personally showed this memo- 
randum to Mitcliell and had been told by the Military Assistant to Secretary 
Laird that the Secretary had read and agreed with it. (Memorandum for the 
record by Benson K. Buffham. 2/3/71.) 

^^ Memorandum from Assistant Attorney General Robert Mardian to Attorney 
General Mitchell, 12/4/70. 


each sent representatives to the lEC. NSA Director Gayler provided 
the lEC with a statement of NSA's capabilities and procedures for 
supplying domestic intelligence.^^" Although the lEC merely evalu- 
ated raw intelligence data, over 90 percent of which came to it 
through the FBI, it had access to domestic intelligence from NSA 
coverage and the CIA's mail-opening and CHAOS programs, which 
was channeled to the FBI.^''^ 

Two of the specific recommendations in the "Huston Plan" were 
thereafter implemented by the FBI — the lowering of the age limit 
for campus informants from 21 to 18 and the resumption of "legal mail 
covers." ^^^ Two men who had participated in developing the "Huston 
Plan" were promoted to positions of greater influence within the 
Bureau.^^^ More important the Bureau greatly intensified its domestic 
intelligence investigations in the fall of 1970 without using "clearly 
illegal" techniques. The Key Black Extremist Program was inaugu- 
rated and field offices were instructed to open approximately 10,500 
new investigations, including investigations of all black student groups 
"regardless of their present or past involvement in disorders." All 
members of "militant New Left campus organizations" were also to be 
investigated even if they were not "known to be violence prone." The 
objective of these investigations was "to identify potential" as well as 
"actual extremists." ^^* 

The chief of the Domestic Intelligence Division in 1970 said the 
"Huston Plan" had "nothing to do" with the FBI's expanded intelli- 
gence activities. Rather, both the "Huston Plan" and the Bureau inten- 
sification represented the same effort by FBI intelligence officials "to 
recommend the types of action and programs which they thought 
necessary to cope with the problem." ^^^ Brennan admits that "the FBI 
was getting a tremendous amount of pressure from the White House," 
although he attributes this pressure to demands from "a vast majority 
of the American people" who wanted to know "why something wasn't 
being done" about violence and disruption in the country,^^^ 

&. Political Intelligence 

The FBI practice of supplying political information to the Wliite 
House and, on occasion, responding to White House requests for 
such information was established before 1964. However, under the 
administrations of President Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, 
this practice grew to unprecedented dimensions.^^^ 

(1) Name Check Requests. — White House aides serving under Presi- 
dents Johnson and Nixon made numerous requests for "name checks" 

'"° Memorandnm from Gayler to Laird and Mil-ohell. 1/26/71. 

^ For a discussion of the FBI as "consumer," see pp. 107-109. 

662 rjij-,^ resumption of mail covers Is discussed above at footnote 528. FBI 
field offices were instructed that thev could recruit 18-21 year-old informers in 
September 1970. (SAC Letter No. 70^8, 9/1.5/70.) See. p. 76. 

683 rpj^^ \\enA of the FBI Domestic Intelligence Division, WiUiam C. Sullivan, 
was promoted to be Assistant to the Director for all investi.2:ative and intelli- 
gence activities. His successor in charge of the Domestic Intelligence Division 
was Charles D. Brennan. 

^* Executives Conference to Tolson, 10/29/70 ; Memorandum from FBI Head- 
quarters to all SACs, 11/4/70. 

'^ Brennan deposition, 9/23/75, pp. 29-31. 

"' Brennan testimony. 9/25/75, Heirings. Vol. 2, p. 108. 

^'The involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency in improper activities 
for the White House is described in the Rockefeller Commission Report, Ch. 14. 


of FBI files to elicit all Bureau information on particular critics of 
each administration. Johnson aides requested such reports on critics 
of the escalating war in Vietnam.^*^* President Johnson's assistants 
also requested name checks on members of the Senate staff of Presi- 
•dential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964,^^^ on Justice and Treasury 
Department officials responsible for a phase of the criminal investi- 
gation of Johnson's former aide Bobby Baker,^''^^ on the authors of 
books critical of the Warren Commission report,"" and on prominent 
newsmen.^^^ President Nixon's aides asked for similar name checks 
on another newsman, the Chainnan of Americans for Democratic 
Action, and the producer of a film critical of the President.^"^ 

According to a memorandum by Director Hoover, Vice President 
Spiro Agnew received ammunition from Bureau files that could be 
used in "destroying [the] credibility" of Southern Christian Lead- 
ership Conference leader Reverend Ralph Abemathy.^'^^ 

(2) Democratic National Convention^ Atlantic City^ 1964. — On 
August 22, 1964, at the request of the White House, the FBI sent 
a "special squad" to the Democratic National Convention site in 
Atlantic City, New Jersey. The squad was assigned to assist the 
Secret Service in protecting President Lyndon Johnson and to ensure 
that the convention itself Avould not be marred by civil disruption. 

But it went beyond these functions to report political intelligence 
to the Wliite House. Approximately 30 Special Agents, headed by 
Assistant Director Cartha DeLoach, "were able to keep the White 
House fully apprised of all major developments during the Con- 
vention's course" by means of "informant coverage, by use of various 
confidential techniques, by infiltration of key groups through use of 
undercover agents, and through utilization of agents using appro- 
priate cover as reporters." ^''^ Among these "confidential techniques" 
were : a wiretap on the hotel room occupied by Dr. Martin Luther 
King, Jr., and microphone surveillance of a storefront serving as head- 
quarters for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating. Committee and 
another civil rights organization.^^^ 

^ Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Marvin Watson, 6/4/65. 

^'^ Memorandum from Hoover to Moyers, 10/27/64. cited in FBI summary 
memorandum, subject : Senator Barry Goldwater, 1/31/75. 

^^* Memorandum from DeLoach to Tolson, 1/17/67. 

^'° Memorandum from Hoover to Marvin Watson, 11/8/66. 

^^ See Finding on Political Abuse, p. 225. 

""Tetter from .T. Edgar Hoover to .Tohn D. Ehrlichman. 10/6/69; 
Judiciary Committee Hearings, Statement of Information (1974), Book VII, 
p. 1111 ; Book VIIT, p. 18.3. Director Hoover volunteered information from 
Bureau files to the .Johnson White House on the -author of a play satirizing the 
President. (Memorandinn from Hoover to Watson. 1/9/67.) 

'^" Memorandum from Hoover to Tolson. rt al., .5/18/70. Agnew admits having 
received such information, but denies having asked for it. (Staff sximmary of 
Sp'T-o Agnew interview. 10/15/75.) 

"* Memorandum from C. D. DeLoach to Mr. Mohr. 8/29/64. 

"^ DeLoach memorandum. 8/29/64 : Cartha DeLoach testimony, 12/3/75, Hear- 
ings. Vol. 6, p. 177. A 1975 FBI Inspection Report has speculated that the 
SNCC bug may have been planted because the Bureau had information in 1964 
that "an apparent member of the Communist Party, FSA, was engaging in 
considprnble activity, much in a leadership capacity in the Student Nonviolent 
Coordinating Committee." (FBI summary memorandum. 1/30/75.) It is unclear, 
however, whether this bug was even approved internally by FBI Headquarter.s, 
as ordinarily required by Bureau procedures. DeLoach stated in a contempo- 
raneous memorandum that the microphone surveillance of SNCC was instituted 



Neither of the electronic surveillances at Atlantic City were spe- 
cifically authorized by the Attorney General. At that time, Justice 
Department procedures did not require the written approval of the 
Attorney General for bugs such as the one directed against SNCC in 
Atlantic City. Bureau officials apparently believed that the wiretap 
on King was justified as an extension of Robert Kennedy's October 10, 
1963, approval for surveillance of King at his then-current address 
in Atlanta, Georgia, or at any future address to which he might 
move.^^^ The only recorded reason for instituting the wiretap on Dr. 
King in Atlantic City, however, was set forth in an internal memo- 
randum prepared shortly before the Convention : 

Martin Luther King, Jr., head of the Southern Christian 
Leadership Conference (SCLC), an organization set up to 
promote integration which we are investigating to deter- 
mine the extent of Communist Party (CP) influence on King 
and the SCLC, plans to attend and possibly may indulge in 
a hunger fast as a means of protest.^^^ 

Walter Jenkins, an Administrative Assistant to President Johnson 
who was the recipient of information developed by the Bureau, stated 
that he was unaware that any of the intelligence was obtained by 
wiretapping or bugging.^^^ DeLoach, moreover, has testified that he 
is uncertain whether he ever informed Jenkins of these sources.^^^ 

Walter Jenkins, and presumably President Johnson, received a 
significant volume of information from the electronic surveillance 
at Atlantic City, much of it purely political and only tangentially re- 
lated to possible civil disturbances. The most important single issue 
for President Johnson at the Atlantic City Convention was the seat- 
ing challenge of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to the 
regular Mississippi delegation.^^° From the electronic surveillances 
of King and SNCC, the White House was able to obtain the most 
intimate details of the plans of individuals supporting the MFDP's 
challenge unrelated to the possibility of violent demonstrations. 

Jenkins received a steady stream of reports on political strategy 
in the struggle to seat the MFDP delegation and other political plans 
and discussions by the civil rights groups under surveillance.^^^ More- 
over, the 1975 Inspection Eeport stated that "several Congressmen, 


"with Bureau approval." (Memorandum from DeLoach to Mohr, 8/29/64.) But 
the Inspection Report concluded that "a thorough review of Bureau records fails 
to locate any memorandum containing [internal] authorization for same." (FBI 
summary memorandum, 1/30/75.) 

^■'^ Mr. DeLoach cited the fact that in the summer of 1964 "there was an on- 
going electronic surveillance on Dr. Martin Luther King ... as authorized by 
Attorney General Kennedy." (Cartha DeLoach testimony. 11/26/75, p. 110) The 
Inspection Report noted that the Special Agent in Charge of the Newark office 
was instructed to institute the wiretap on the ground that "the Burenu had au- 
thority from the Attorney General to cover any residences which King may 
use with a technical installation." (FBI summary memorandum 1/30/75, Sub- 
ject : "Special Squad at Democratic National Convention, Atlantic City, New 
Jersey, August 22-28, 1964.") 

^" Memorandum from W. C. Sullivan to A. H. Belmont, 8/21/64. 

^'* Staff summarv of Walter Jenkins interview, 12/1/75. 

™ DeLoach. 11/26/75. p. 114. 

^^" Theodore White, Mnkinrf of the President 196J, (New York : Atheninm. 1965), 
pp. 277-280. Walter Jenkins also confirmed this characterization. (Staff sum- 
mary of .Jenkins interview, 12/1/75). 

^ Memorandum from DeLoach to Mohr, 8/29/64, 


Senators, and Governors of States" were overheard on the King tap.^^^ 
According to both Cartha DeLoach and Waher Jenkins, the Bu- 
reau's coverage in Atlantic City was not designed to serve political 
ends. DeLoach testified : 

I was sent there to provide information . . , which could 
reflect on the orderly progress of the convention and the 
danger to distinguished individuals, and particularly the 
danger to the President of the United States, as exempli- 
fied by the many, many references [to possible civil disturb- 
ances] in the memoranda furnished Mr, Jenkins. . . .^^^ 

Jenkins has stated that the mandate of the FBI's special unit did not 
encompass the gathering of political intelligence and speculated that 
the dissemination of any such intelligence was due to the inability of 
Bureau agents to distinguish dissident activities which represented 
a genuine potential for violence.^®* Jenkins did not believe the White 
House ever used the incidental political intelligence that was received. 
However, a document located at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential 
Library suggests that at least one political use was made of Mr. De- 
Loach's reports. ^^^ 

Thus, although it may have been implemented to prevent violence at 
the Convention site, the Bureau's coverage in Atlantic City — ^which 
included two electronic surveillances — undeniably provided useful po- 
litical intelligence to the President as well.^^'' 

(3) By-Product of Foreign Intelligence Coverage. — Through the 
FBI's coverage of certain foreign officials in Washington, D.C., the 
Bureau was able to comply with President Johnson's request for re- 
ports of the contacts between members of Congress and foreign officials 
opposed to his Vietnam policy. According to a summary memorandum 
prepared by the FBI : 

On March 14, 1966, then President Lyndon B. Johnson in- 
formed Mr. DeLoach [Cartha DeLoach, Assistant Director 
of the FBI] . . . that the FBI should constantly keep abreast 
of the actions of [certain foreign officials] in making contact 
with Senators and Congressmen and an}^ citizen of a prom- 
inent nature. The President stated he strongly felt that much 
of the protest concerning his Vietnam policy, particularly 
the hearings in the Senate, had been generated by [certain 
foreign officials] .^^^ 

'" Memorandum from H. N. Bassett to Mr. Callahan, 1/29/75. 

^' DeLoach, 11/26/75, p. 139. 

^^ Staff summary of Jenkins interview, 1/21/75. 

''^ Exhibit 68-2, Hearings, Vol. VI, p. 71.3. 

588 ppj memoranda indicate that in 1968 Vice President Hubert Humphrey's 
Executive Assistant. Bill Connell, asked the Bureau to send a "special team" to 
the forthcomine: Democratic National Convention, since President Johnson "al- 
legedly told the Vice President that the FBI had been of great service to him and 
he had been given considerable information on a timely basis throughout the 
entire convention." (Memorandum from DeLoach to Tolson, S/7/68). After talk- 
ing with Connell. Director Hoover advised the HAC in Chicago that the Bureau 
was "not going to get into anything political but anything of extreme action or 
violence contemplated we want to let Connell know." (Memorandum from Hoover 
to Tolson, et al., 8/15/68.) Democratic Party Treasurer John Criswell made a 
similar request, stating that Postmaster General Man-in Watson "had informed 
him of rhe great service performed b.v the FBI during the last Democratic Con- 
vention." (Memorandum from DeLoach to Tolson, 8/22/68.) 

SS7 pgj summary memorandum, 2/3/75, 


As a result of the President's request, the FBI prepared a chronolog- 
ical summary — apparently based in part on existinjj electronic surveil- 
lances — of the contacts of each Senator, Representative, or legislative 
staff member who communicated with selected foreign officials during 
the period July 1, 1964, to March 17, 1966. This 67-page summary was 
transmitted to the White House on March 21, 1966, with a note that 
certain foreign officials were "making more contacts" with four named 
Senators "than with other United States legislator." ^^^ A second sum- 
mary, prepared on further contacts between Congressmen and foreign 
officials, was transmitted to the AVhite House on May 13, 1966. From 
then until the end of the Johnson Administration in January 1969, 
biweekly additions to the second summary were regularly disseminated 
to the White House.^^^ 

This practice was reinstituted during the Nixon Administration. 
On July 27, 1970, Larry Higby, Assistant to H. R. Haldeman, in- 
formed the Bureau that Haldeman "Avanted any information pos- 
sessed by the FBI relating to contacts between [certain foreign offi- 
cials] and Members of Congress and its staff." Two days later, the 
Bureau provided the White House with a statistical compilation of 
such contacts from January 1, 1967, to the present. Unlike the case of 
the information provided to the Johnson Wliite House, however, there 
is no indication in related Bureau records that President Nixon or his 
aides were concerned about critics of the President's policy. The Bu- 
reau's reports did not identify individual Senators; they provided 
overall statistics and two examples of foreign recruitment attempts 
(with names removed ).^^° 

In at least one instance the FBI, at the request of the President and 
with the approval of the Attorney General, instituted an electronic 
surveillance of a foreign target for the express purpose of intercept- 
ing telephone conversations of an American citizen. An FBI memo- 
randum states that shortly before the 1968 Presidential election, Pres- 
ident Johnson became suspicious that the South Vietnamese were 
trying to sabotage his peace negotiations in the hope that Presidential 
candidate Nixon would win the election and then take a harder line 
toward North Vietnam. To determine the validity of this suspicion, 
the White House instructed the FBI to institute physical surveillance 
of Mrs. Anna Chennault, a prominent Republican, as well as electronic 
surveillance directed against a South Vietnamese target.^^^ 

The electronic surveillance was authorized by Attorney General 
Ramsey Clark on October 29, 1968, installed the same day, and con- 
tinued until January 6, 1969.^^^ Thus, a "foreign" electronic surveil- 
lance was instituted to target indirectly an American citizen who could 
not be legitimately surveilled directly. Also as part of this investiga- 
tion. President Johnson personally ordered a check of the long distance 
toll call records of Vice Presidential candidate Spiro Agnew.^^^ 

588 p-pj summary memorandum, 2/3/75. 

B8» pgj summary memorandum, 2/3/75. 

590 pgj f^in^mary memorandum, 2/3/75. See Findings on Political Abuse. 

6»i PR! summary memorandum, 2/1/75. 

^^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 10/2J^/6S ; memo- 
randum from Director. FBI to Attorney General, 10/30/68 ; memorandum from 
Director, FBI to Attorney General. 3/27/69. 

Attorney General Clark testified that he was unaware of any surveillance of 
Mrs. Chennault, (Clark, 12/3/75. Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 251-252.) 

^^ See Findings on Political Abuse, p. 225. 


(4) The SurveiUcmce of Joseph Kraft {1969) . — There is no substan- 
tial indication of any genuine national security rationale for the elec- 
tronic surveillance overseas of columnist Joseph Kraft in 1969. John 
Erlichman testified before the Senate AVatergate Committee that the 
national security was involved, but did not elaborate further.^^* 

Beyond this general claim, however, there is little evidence that any 
national security issue was involved in the case. Former Deputy Attor- 
ney General and Acting FBI Director William Ruckelshaus testified 
that after reviewing the matter he "could never see any national se- 
curity justification" for the surveillance of Kraft. Ruckelshaus stated 
that the Administration's "justification"' for bugging Kraft's hotel 
room was that he was "asking questions of some members of the North 
Vietnamese Government." Ruckelshaus believed that this was not an 
adequate national security justification for placing "any kind of sur- 
veillance on an American citizen or newsman.'' ^^^ Mr. Kraft agreed 
that he was in contact with North Vietnamese officials while he was 
abroad in 1969, but noted that this was a common practice among 
journalists and that "at the time" he never knowingly published any 
classified information.^^*^ 

The documentary record also reveals no national security justifica- 
tion for the FBI's electronic surveillance of Mr. Kraft overseas. 
The one memorandum which referred to "Possible Leaks of Informa- 
tion" by Kraft does not indicate that there clearly was a leak of na- 
tional security significance or that Mr. Kraft was responsible for such 
a leak if it occur red. ^^' Furthermore, the hotel room bug did not pro- 
duce any evidence that Kraft received or published any classified 
information. ^^^ 

®* John Ehrlichman testimony. Senate Watergate Committee, 7/24/73. p. 2535. 
According to tlie transcriiit of the Wliite House tapes, President Nixon stated to 
John Dean on April 16, 1973 : 

"What I mean is I thinlv in the case of the Kraft stuff what the FBI did, they 
were both fine. I have checlced the facts. Tliere were some done through private 
sources. Most of it was done tlirough the Bureau after we got — Hoover didn't 
want to do Kraft. What it involved apparently. .John, was this : the leaks from 
the NSC [National Security Council]. They were in Kraft and others columns 
and we were trying to plug the leaks and we had to get it done and finally we 
turned it over to Hoover. And then when the hullabaloo developed we just 
knocked it off altogether. . . ." (Submission of Recorded Presidential Conversa- 
tions to the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives by 
President Richnrd Nixon, 4/30/74.) The President's statement was made in the 
context of 'coaching' John Dean on what to say to the Watergate Grand Jury. 

^ William Ruckleshaus testimony before the Subcommittee on Administrative 
Practice and Procedure, 5/9/74, p. 320. 

^ Kraft testified that Henry Kissinger, then the President's Special Adviser 
for National Security, informed him that he had no knowledge of either the wire- 
tap or the hotel room bug. Kraft also stated that former Attorney General Elliot 
Richardson indicated to him that ''there was no justification for these activities." 
(Joseph Kraft testimony. Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and 
Prof'Pdure, 5/10/74, p. 381.) 

'"" Letter from W. C. Sullivan to Mr. Hoover. 7/12/69. 

^ While the summaries sent to Hoover by Sullivan did show that Kraft con- 
tacted North Vietnamese oflHcials (Letter from Sullivan to Hoover. 7/12/69). the 
Bureau did not discover any improprieties or indi.scretions on his part. When 
RnckeLshaus was asked if his review of these summaries revealed to him that 
Kraft engaged in any conduct while abroad that posed a danger to the national 
securitv. he replied: "Absolutely not." (Ruckelshaus testimony before the Sub- 
committee on Administrative Practice and Procedure, 5/9/74, p. 320. ) 


Similarly, there is no evidence of a national security justification 
for the physical surveillance and proposed electronic surveillance of 
Kraft in the fall of 1969. A Bureau memorandum suggests that the 
Attorney General requested some type of coverage of Kraft,^^^ but the 
record reveals no purpose for this coverage. The physical surveillance 
was discontinued after five weeks because it had '"not been produc- 
tive." Apparently, the Attorney General himself was unconvinced 
that a genuine national security justification supported the Kraft 
surveillance : he refused to authorize the requested wiretap, and it was 
consequently never implemented.''"^ 

(5) TJie "i'z" Wiretaps. — The relative ease with which high admin- 
istration officials could select improper intelligence targets was demon- 
strated by the "17" wiretaps on Executive officials and newsmen in- 
stalled between 1969-1971 under the rationale of determining the 
source of leaks of sensitive information.*'""^ In three cases no national 
security claim was even advanced. Wliile national security issues were 
at least arguably involved in the initiation of the other taps, the pro- 
gram continued in two instances against persons who left the govern- 
ment and took positions as advisors to Senator Edmund Muskie, then 
the leading Democratic Presidential prospect.^"^ 

The records of these wiretaps were kept separate from the FBI's 
regular electronic surveillance files; ^"^ their duration in many cases 
went beyond the period then required for re-authorization by the At- 
torney General ; and in some cases the Attorney General did not au- 
thorize the tap until after it had begun.*'"^ In 1971, the records were 
removed from the FBI's possession and sent to the AMiite House.. 

Thus, misuse of the FBI had progressed by 1971 from the regular 
receipt by the "WHiite House of political "tid-bits" and occasional re- 
quests for name checks of Bureau files to the use of a full array of 
intelligence operations to serve the political interests of the admin- 
istration. The final irony was that the Nixon administration came to 
distrust Director Hoover's reliability and, consequently, to develop a 
White House-based covert intelligence operation.^"* 

c. The Justice Department'' s Internal Security Division 
FBI intelligence reports flowed consistently to the Justice Depart- 
ment, especially to the IDIU established by Attorney General Clark 
in 1967 and to the Internal Security Division. Before 1971, the Justice 
Department provided little guidance to the FBI on tlie proper scope 
of domestic intelligence investigations.^"^ For example, in response to 
a Bureau inquiry in 1964 about whether a group's activities came 
"within the criteria" of the employee security program or were "in 

^° Memorandum from W. C. Sullivan to Mr. DeLoach. 11/4/69. 

*" Memorandum from Sullivan to DeLoach. 12/11/69. 

eooa -p^j. (jiscussion of dissemination of political intelligence from the "17" wire- 
taps, see Finding on Political Abuse, p. 225. 

^ Sen. Edmund Muskie testimony, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 
9/10/78 Executive Spssian, pp. .^0-51. 

*°^ Memorandum from W. C. Sullivan to C. D. DeLoach, 5/11/69. 

'""Report of the House .Tudiciarv Committee. S/20/74. pp. 146-1.54. 

'°*The creation of the "plumbers" unit in the White House led inexorably to 
Watergate. See Report of the House Judiciary Committee, 8/20/74, pp. 157-162, 

^^ An example of a generalized Departmental instruction is Attorney General 
Clark's order of September 1967 (see p. 79) regarding civil disorders. 


violation of any other federal statute," ^^ the Internal Security Divi- 
sion replied that there Avas "insufficient evidence" for prosecution and 
that the group's leaders were "becoming more cautious in their ut- 
terances." '^'^' Nevertheless, the FBI continued for years to investigate 
the group with the knowledge and approval of the Division. 

(1) The "iVeto" Internal Security Division. — AVhen Kobert Mardian 
was appointed Assistant Attorney General in late 1970, the Internal 
Security Division assumed a more active posture. In fact, one of the 
alternatives to implementation of the "Huston Plan" suggested to 
Attorney General John Mitchell by White House aide John Dean 
was the invigoration of the Division.^°* This included Mardian's es- 
tablishment of the lEC to prepare domestic intelligence estimates. 
Equally significant, however, was Mardian's preparation of a new 
Executive Order on federal employee security. The new order assigned 
to the moribund Subversive Activities Control Board the function of 
designating groups for what had been the "Attorney General's 
list." ^°^ This attempt to assign broad new functions by Executive fiat 
to a Board with limited statutory responsibilities clearly disregarded 
the desires of the Congress.*'^" 

According to Mardian, there was a "problem" because the list had 
"not been updated for 17 years." He expected that the revitalized 
SACB would "deal specifically with the revolutionary /terrorist or- 
ganizations which have recently become a part of our history." ®^^ 

Assistant Attorney General IMardian's views coincided with those 
of FBI Assistant Director Brennan, who had seen a need to compile 
massive data on the "New Left" for future employee security pur- 
poses.^^^ Since FBI intelligence investigations were based in part on 
the standards for the "Attorney General's list." the new Executive 
Order substantially redefined and expanded FBI authority. The new 
order included groups who advocated the use of force to deny individ- 
ual rights under the "laws of anv State" or to overthrow the govern- 
ment of "any State or subdivision thereof." ^^^ The new order also 
continued to use the term "subversive," although it was theoretically 
more restrictive than the previous standard for the Attorney Gen- 
eral's list because it required "unlawful" advocacy. 

^"^ Memorandum from FBI Director to Yeagley, 1/31/64. 

^"^ Memorandum from Yeagley to FBI Director, 3/3/64. Tliere was no reau- 
thorization of the continuing inve.^itigation between 1966 and 1974. 

^ Memorandum from Dean to Mitchell, 9/18/70. 

^•^ Executive Order 11605. 7/71. 

"°By 1971. the SACB had the limited function of making findings that spe- 
cific individuals and groups were Communist. Its registration of Communist had 
been declared imconstitutional. [Alhertson v. Subversive Activities Control Board, 
382 U.S. 70 n96o).l 

*" Robert C. Mardian, address before the Atomic Energy Commission Security 
Conference, Washington, D.C. 10/27/71. Mardian added that the "problem" was 
that, without an updated, formal list of subversive organizations, federal agen- 
cies were required "to individually evaluate information regarding membership 
in allegedly subversive organizations based on raw data furnished by the Fed- 
eral Bureau of Investigation or other governmental sources." 

"^ Brennan testimony, 9/25/7.5. Hearings, Vol. 2, 116-117. 

*^^ Executive Order 11605. 7/71. By contrast, the prior order had been limited 
to groups seeking forcible violation of rights "under the Constitution of the 
United States" or seeking "to alter the form of government of the United States 
by unconstitutional means." Executive Order 10450 (1953). 


Mardian made it clear that, under the order, the FBI was to provide 
intelligence to the Subversive Activities Control Board : 

We have a new brand of radical in this country and we are 
trying to address ourselves to the new situation. With the in- 
vestigative effort of the FBI, we hope to present petitions 
to the Board in accordance with requirement of the Execu- 
tive Order.^^* 

FBI intelligence officials learned that the Internal Security Division 
intended to "initiate proceedings against the Black Panther Party, 
Progressive Labor Party, Young Socialist Alliance, and Ku Klux 
Klan." They also noted: "The language of Executive Order 11605 
is very broad and generall}^ coincides with the basis for our investiga- 
tion of extremist groups." "^ Mardian had, in effect, provided a new 
and wider "charter" for FBI domestic intelligence.^^^ 

(2) The Sullivan-Mardian Relationship. — in 1971, Director Hoover 
expressed growing concern over the close relationship developing 
between his FBI subordinates in the Domestic Intelligence Division 
and the Internal Security Division under Mardian. For example, when 
FBI intelligence officials met with Mardian's principal deputy, 
A. William Olsen, to discuss "proposed changes in procedure" for the 
Attorney General's authorization of electronic surveillance. Hoover 
reiterated instructions that Bureau officials be "very careful in our 
dealings" with Mardian. Moreover, to have a source of legal advice 
independent of the Justice Department, the FBI Director created a 
new position of Assistant Director for Legal Counsel and required that 
he attend "at any time officials of the Department are being contacted 
on any policy consideration which affects the Bureau." ^^^ 

In the summer of 1971, AVilliam C. Sullivan openly challenged FBI 
Director Hoover, possibly counting on Mardian and Attorney General 
Mitchell to back him up and oust Hoover.^^^ Sullivan charged in one 
memorandum to Hoover that other Bureau officials lacked "objectiv- 
ity" and "independent thinking" and that "they said what they did 
because they thought this was what the Director wanted them to 
say." 619 

Shortly thereafter, Director Hoover appointed W. jNIark Felt, for- 
merly Assistant Director for the Inspection Division, to a newly cre- 
ated position as SulliA^an's superior. Apparently realizing that he was 
on his way out, Sullivan gave Assistant Attorney General Mardian the 
FBI's documents recording the authorization for, and dissemination 

'^^ Hearings on the appropriation for the Department of Justice before the 
House Subcommittee on Appropriations, 92nd Cong., 2nd Sess., (1972), p. ^IX 

'^^ Inspection Report, FBI Domestic Intelligence Division, August 17-Sep- 
tember9. 1971. 

"* Tlie hostile Congressional reaction to this Order, which shifted duties by 
Executive fiat to a Board created by statute for other purposes, led to the death 
of the SACB when no appropriation was granted in 1972. 

®^' FBI Executives Conference Memorandum. 6/2/71. The first Assistant Direc- 
tor for Legal Counsel was Dwight Dalbey, who had for years been in charge of 
the legal training of Bureau agents. Dalbey's elevation early in 1971, and Hoover's 
requirement that he review all legal aspects of FBI policy, including intelligence 
matters, was a major change in Bureau procedure. (Memorandum from Hoover to 
All Bureau OflScials and Supervisors, 3/8/71. ) 

^* FBI Summary of Interview with Robert Mardian, 5/10/73, pp. 1-3. 

°^* Memorandum from Sullivan to Hoover, 6/16/71. 


of, information from the "17" wiretaps placed on Executive officials 
and newsmen in 1969-1971. The absence of these materials was not dis- 
covered by other FBI officials nntil after Sullivan was forced to resign 
in September 1971. ^'-^ Mardian eventually took part in the transfer of 
these records to the White House.*^^^ 

Thus, the Attorney General's principal assistant for internal secu- 
rity collaborated with a ranking FBI official to conceal vital records, 
ultimately to be secreted away in the White House. This provides a 
striking example of the manner in which channels of legitimate author- 
ity Avithin the Executive Branch can be abused. 

d. The FBFs Secret '•'■Achmmsfrafive Iiulex''' 
In the fall of 1971, the FBI confronted the prospect of the first seri- 
ous Congressional curtailment of domestic intelligence investiga- 
tions — repeal of the Emergency Detention Act of 1950 — and set a 
course of evasion of the will of Congress which continued, partly with 
Justice Department approval, until 1973. 

An FBI Inspection Report viewed the prospect of the repeal with- 
out great alarm. In the event the Act was repealed, the FBI intended 
to continue as before under "the Government's inherent right to pro- 
tect itself internally." ^" After the repeal took place. Bureau officials 
elaborated the following rationale for keeping the Security Index of 
"potentially dangerous subversives :" 

Should this country come under attack from hostile forces, 
foreign or domestic^ there is nothing to preclude the President 
from going before a joint session of Congress and requesting 
necessary authority to apprehend and detain those Avho would 
constitute a menace to national defense. At this point, it 
would be absolutely essential to have an immediate list, such 
as the SI, for use in making such apprehensions.^^^ [Em- 
phasis added,] 

Thus, FBI officials hoped there would be a way to circumvent the 
repeal "in which the essence of the Security Index and emergency 
detention of dangerous individuals could be utilized under Presiden- 
tial powers." ^'* 

Assistant Director Dwight Dalbey, the FBI's Legal Counsel, recom- 
mended writing to the Attorney General for "a reassessment" in order 
to "protect" the Bureau in case "some spokesman of the extreme left" 
claimed that repeal of the Detention Act eliminated FBI authority 
for domestic intelligence activity. Dalbey agreed that, since the Act 
"could easily be put back in force should an emergency convince Con- 

«=" Memorandum from T. J. Smith to E. S. Miller. 5/13/73. pp. 1. 8. 

^^FBI Summary of Interview with Robert Mardian, 5/10/73, pp. 2-3. The 
Watergate Special Prosecutor investigated these events, and did not find siiflS- 
cient evidence of criminal conduct to bring an indictment. However, they occurred 
at the time of intense White House pressure to develop a criminal prosecution 
against Daniel Ellsberg over the Pentagon Papers mattei*. The dismissal of 
charges against Ellsberg in 1973 was largely due to the belated discovery of the 
fact that Ellsberg had been overheard on a wiretap indi.r*ated in these records, 
which were withheld from the court, preventing its determination of the perti- 
nency of the material to the Ellsberg case. 

^ Inspection Report, Domestic Intelligence Division. S/17-9/9/71, p. 98. 

*^ Memorandum from R. D. Cotter to E. S. Miller, 9/21/71. 

^* Memorandum from Cotter to Miller, 9/17/71. 


gress of its need," the Bureau should "have on hand the necessary 
action information pertaining to individuals." ^^^ Thereupon, a letter 
was sent to Attorney General Mitchell proposing that the Bureau be 
allowed to "maintain an administrative index" of individuals Avho 
"pose a threat to the internal security of the country." Such an index 
would be an aid to the Bureau in discharging its "investigative re- 
sponsibility." However, the letter made no reference to the theory pre- 
vailing within the FBI that the new "administrative index" would 
serve as the basis for a revived detention program in some future 

Thus, when the Attorney General replied that the repeal of the Act 
did not prohibit the FBI from compiling an "administrative index" 
to make "readily retrievable" the "results of its investigations," he did 
not deal with the question of whether the index would also serve as a 
round-up list for a future emergency. The Attorney General also stated 
that the Department did not "desire a copy" of the new index, abdicat- 
ing even the minimal supervisory role performed previously by the 
Internal Security Division in its review of the names on the Security 
Index,^^^ FBI officials realized that they were "now in a position to 
make a sole determination as to which individuals should be included 
in an index of subversive individuals." ^" 

There were two major consequences of the new system. First, the 
new "administrative index" (ADEX) was expanded to include an 
elastic category : "the new breed of subvei*sive." ^^^ Second, the pre- 
vious Eeserve Index, which had never been disclosed to the Justice 
Department, was incorporated into the ADEX. It included "teachers, 
writers, lawyers, etc." who did not actively participate in subversive 
activity "but who were nevertheless influential in espousing their 
respective philosophies." It was estimated that the total case load under 
the ADEX would be "in excess of 23,000." ^^^ 

One of the FBI standards for placing someone on the ADEX list 
demonstrates the vast breadth of the list and the assumption that it 
could be used as the basis for detention in an emergency : 

An individual who, although not a member of or participant 
in activities of revolutionary organizations or considered an 
activist in affiliated fronts, has exhibited a revolutionary 
ideology and is likely to seize upon the opportunity presented 

'^Memorandum from D. J. Dalbey to C. Tolson, 9/24/71. 

•^" Memorandum from Hoover to Mitchell, 9/30/71. 

'^"Memorandum from Mitchell to Hoover, 10/22/71. 

"^ Memorandum from T. J. Smith to E. S. Miller, 11/11/71. It was noted that in 
the past the Department had "frequently removed individuals" from the Security 
Index because of its strict "legal interpretation." 

'^^ This new breed was described as follows : 

"He may adhere to the old-line revolutionary concepts but he is unaffiliated 
with any organization. He may belong to or follow one New Left-type group today 
and another tomorrow. He may simply belong to the loosely knit group of revolu- 
tionaries who have no particular political philosophy but who continuously plot 
the overthrow of our Government. He is the nihilist who seeks only to destroy 

"On the other hand, he may be one of the revolutionary black extremists who, 
while perhaps influerced by groups such as the Black Panther Party, is also 
unaffiliated either permanently or temporarily with any black organization but 
with a seething hatred of the white establishment wiU assassinate, explode, or 
otherwise destroy white America." (T. J. Smith to E. S. Miller, 11/11/71.) 

*" Memorandum from T. J. Smith to E. S. Miller, 11/11/71. 


by national eTnergency to commit acts of espionage or sabo- 
tage, including acts of terrorism, assassination or any inte?'- 
ference with or threat to the survival and effective operation 
of the national, state, and local governments and of the defense 
efforts. [Emphasis added.] *^^° 

These criteria were supplied to the Justice Department in 1972, and 
the Attorney General did not question the fact that the ADEX was 
more than an administrative aid for conducting investigations, as 
he had previously been told.*^^^ 

A Bureau memorandum indicates that "representatives of the De- 
partment" in fact agreed with the view that there might be "cir- 
cumstances" where it would be necessary "to quickly identify persons 
who were a threat to the national security" and that the President 
could then go to Congress "for emergency legislation permitting ap- 
prehension and detention." ^^^ 

Thus, although the Attorney General did not formally authorize 
the ADEX as a continuation of the previous detention list, there was 
informal Departmental knowledge that the FBI would proceed on that 
basis. One FBI official later recognized that the ADEX could be 
"interpreted as a means to circumvent repeal of the Emergency 
Detention Act." ^^^ 

8. Reconsideration of FBI Authority 

In February 1971, the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of 
the Senate Judiciary Committee began a series of hearings on federal 
data banks and the Bill of Rights which marked a crucial turning point 
in the development of domestic intelligence policy. The Subcommittee, 
chaired by Senator Sam J. Ervin of North Carolina, reflected growing 
concern among Americans for the protection of "the privacy of the 
individual against the 'information power' of government." ^^* 

Largely in response to this first serious Congressional inquiry into 
domestic intelligence policy, the Army curtailed its extensive surveil- 
lance of civilian political activity. The Senate inquiry also led, after 
Director Hoover's death in 1972, to reconsideration by the FBI of the 
legal basis for its domestic intelligence activities and eventually to a 
request to the Attorney General for clarification of its authority.^^^ 

^^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 11/15/71. 

"^^ Memorandum from Hoover to Mitchell, 2/10/72 ; cf. memorandum from 
Hoover to Mitchell, 9/30/71 for the previous statement. 

^ Memorandum from T. J. Smith to E. S. Miller, 8/29/72. 

*^ Memorandum from Domestic Intelligence Division. Position Paper : Scope 
of Authorit.v, .Jurisdiction and Responsibility in Domestic Intelligence Investiga- 
tions. 7/31/72. 

'^Federal Data Banks, Hearings, Opening Statement of Senator Ervin, Febru- 
ary 23, 1971, p. 1. Senator Ervin declared that a major objective of the inquiry was 
to look into "programs for taking official note of law-abiding people who are active 
politically or who participate in community activities on social and political 
issues." The problem, as Senator Ervin saw it, was that there were citizens 
who felt "intimidated" by these programs and were "fearful aliout exercising their 
rights under the First Amendment to sign petitions, or to speak and write freely 
on current issues of Government policy." The ranking minority meml)er of the 
Subcommittee. Senator Roman Hruska. endorsed the need for a "penetrating and 
searching" inquiry. (Hearings, pp. 4, 7.) 

"'^ Also during March 1971. an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania was broken 
into ; a substantial number of documents were removed and soon began to appear 
in the pres.s. One of these was captioned COIXTELPRO. The Bureau reacted 
by ordering its field offices to "discontinue" COINTELPRO operations "for 



a. Developments in 1&7^-1971^ 

There is no indication that FBI "guidelines" material or the FBI 
Manual provisions themselves were submitted to, or requested by, the 
Justice Department prior to 1972. '^^^ Indeed, when Deputy Attorney 
General Richard Kleindienst testified in February 1972 at the hear- 
ings on his nomination to be Attorney General, he stated that he was 
"not sure" what guidelines were used by the FBI. Kleindienst also 
stated that he believed FBI investigations were "restricted to criminal 
conduct or the likelihood of criminal conduct." ^^' Director Hoover 
noted on a newspaper report of the testimony, "Prepare succinst memo 
to him on our guidelines." ^^^ 

After Hoover's death in 1972, a sharp split developed within the 
Domestic Intelligence Division over whether or not the Bureau should 
continue to rely on the various Executive Orders as a basis for its 

Acting Director Gray postponed making any formal decisions on 
this matter; he did not formally request advice from the Attorney 
General. *^^° Meanwhile, the Domestic Intelligence Division proceeded 


security reasons because of their sensitivity." It was suggested, liowever, that 
"counter-intelligence action" would be considered "in exceptional instances" so 
long as there were "tight procedures to insure absolute secrecy." (Memorandum 
from Brennan to Sullivan, 4/27/71 ; Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all 
SAC'S. 4/28/71.) For actions taken thereafter, see COINTELPRO report. 

•"^ After repeal of the Emergency Detention Act in the fall of 1971, the FBI's 
Assistant Director for Legal Counsel recommended that the Bureau's request 
for .approval of its new ADEX also include a more general request for re-afl5rma- 
tion of FBI domestic intelligence authority to investigate "subversive activity." 
(Memorandum from D. J. Dalbey to Mr. Tolson, 9/24/71.) The letter to the Attor- 
ney General reviewed the line of "Presidential directives" from 1939 to 195.S. 
(Memorandum from Hoover to Mitchell, 9/30/71.) The Attorney General replied 
with a general endorsement of FBI authority to investigate "subversive activ- 
itie.s." (Memorandum from Mitchell to Hoover, 10/22/71.) 

*"' Richard Kleindienst testimony. Senate Judiciary Committee, 2/24/72. p. (54 

^^FBI routing slip attached to Washington Post article. 2/24/72. The FBI's 
summary of its "guidelines," submitted to the Attorney General stated that its 
investigations were partly based on criminal statutes, but that "subversive activ- 
ity . . . often does not clearly involve a specific .section of a specific statute." 
Tlius. investigations were also based on the 1939 Roosevelt directives which were 
said to have been "reiterated and broadened by subsequent Directives." (Attach- 
ment to Hoover memorandum to Kleindienst, 2/25/72. ) (Emphasis added. ) 

639rpjjp i)ackground for this development may be summarized as follows: In 
May 1972, FBI intelligence officials prepared a "position paper" for Acting Direc- 
tor L. Patrick Gray. This paper merely recited the various Presidential directives. 
Executive Orders, delimitation agreements, and general authorizations from the 
Attorney General, with no attempt at analysis. (FBI Domestic Intelligence Divi- 
sion. Position Paper: Investigations of Subversion. 5/19/72.) Assistant Director 
E. S. Miller, head of the Domestic Intelligence Division, withdrew this paper at a 
conference with Gray and other top Bureau otficials ; Miller then initiated work 
on a more extensive position paper, which was completed in July. It concluded 
that domestic intelligence investigations could practicably be based on the "con- 
cept" that their purpose was "to prevent a violation of ,a statute." The paper also 
indicated that the ADEX would be revi.sed so that it could not lie "interpreted as 
a means to circumvent repeal of the Emersrency Detention Act." (FBI Domestic 
Intelligence Division : Position Paper : Scope of FBI Authority, 7/31/72 : T. J. 
Smith to E. S. Miller. 8/1/72.) 

'"" Gray did order that the Bureau should indicate its "jurisdictional authority'' 
to investigate in every case, "liy citing the pertinent provision of the U.S. Code, 
or other .authority." and that the Bureau should "indicate whether or not 
an investigation was directed by DJ (Department of Justice), or we opened it 
without any request from DJ." In the latter case, the Bureau was to "cite our 
reasons." (FBI routing slip, 8/27/72.) 


on its own to revise the pertinent Manual sections and the ADEX 
standards."^*^ The list was to be trimmed to those who were "an actual 
danger now," reducing the number of persons on the ADEX by two- 

A revision of the FBI Manual was completed by May 1973. It was 
described as "a major step" away from "heavy reliance upon Presiden- 
tial Directives" to an approach "based on existing Federal statutes.^^^ 
Although field offices were instructed to "close" investigations not 
meeting the new criteria, headquarters did not want "a massive review 
on crash basis" of all existing cases.''" 

After a series of regional conferences with field office supervisors, 
the standards were revised to allow greater flexibility.''^^ For the first 
time in FBI history, a copy of the Manual section for "domestic sub- 
versive investigations" was sent to the Attorney General.^*® 

After Clarence M. Kelley was confirmed as FBI Director, he au- 
thorized a request for guidance from Attorney General Elliot Rich- 
ardson.*'*'' Kelley advised that it "would be folly" to limit the Bureau 

°" One official observed that there were "some individuals now included in 
ADEX even though they do not realistically pose a threat to the national secu- 
rity." He added that this would leave the Bureau "in a vulnerable position if our 
guidelines were to be scrutinized by interested Congressional Committees." (Mem- 
orandum from T. J. Smith to E. S. Miller, 8/29/72.) 

"*- Memorandum from Smith to Miller. S/29/72. The anticipated reduction was 
from 15.2.59 (the current figure) to 4,786 (the top two priority categories). The 
Justice Department was advised of this change. (Memorandum from Gray to 
Kleindienst, 9/18/72. ) 

''*^ Draft copies were distributed to the field for suggestions. (E. S. Miller to 
Mr. Felt, 5/22/73. ) 

^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 6/7/73. The memorandum 
to the field stated, looking back on past Bureau policy, that since the FBI's au- 
thority to investigate "subversive elements" had never been "seriously challenged 
until recently," Bureau personnel (and "the general public") had accepted "the 
FBI's right to handle internal security matters and investigate subversive activ- 
ities without reference to specific statutes." But the "rationale" based on "Presi- 
dential Directives" was no longer "adequate." 

The field was advised that the "chief statutes" upon which the new criteria 
were l)ased were those dealing with rebellion or insurrection (18 U.S.C. 2583), 
seditious conspiracy (18 U.S.C. 2584) and advocating overthrow of the govern- 
ment (18 U.S.C. 2528). The ADEX was to be "strictly an administrative device" 
and should play no part "in investigative decisions or policies." The revision also 
eliminated "overemphasis" on the Communist Party. 

"« For example, the field oflices saw the need to undertake "preliminary in- 
quiries" before it was known "whether a statutory basis for investigation exists." 
This specifically applied where a person had "contact with known subversive 
groups or subjects," but the Bureau did not know "the purpose of the contact." 
Tliese preliminary investigations could go on for at least 90 days, to determine 
whether "a statutory basis for a full investigation exists." Moreover, at the urging 
of the field supervisors, the period for a preliminary investigation of an allegedly 
"subversive organization" was expanded from 45 to 90 days. (Memorandum from 
FBI Headquarters to all 'SACs, 8/8/73. ) 

"*" This was apparently "in connection with" a request made earlier by Senator 
Edward M. Kennedy, who had requested to see this section at the time of the 
confirmation hearings for Attorney General Kleindienst in 1972. (Kleindienst, 
Senate .Judiciary Committee, 2/24/72, p. 64 ; memorandum from Kelley to Rich- 
ardson, 8/7/7.3.) 

®*^ In a memorandum to the Attorney General. Director Kelle.v cited Senator 
Sam .T. Ervin's view that the FBI should be prohibited by statute "from inve.sti- 
gating any person without the individual's consent, unless the Government has 
reason to believe that the person has committed a crime or is about to commit 
a crime." Kelley then summarized the position paper prepared by the Domestic 


68-786 O - 76 - 10 


to investigations only when a crime "has been committed," since the 
government had to "defend itself against revolutionary and terrorist 
efforts to destroy it." Consequently, he urged that the President exer- 
cise his "inherent Executive power to expand by further defining the 
FBI's investigative authority to enable it to develop advance informa- 
tion" about the plans of "terrorists and revolutionaries who seek to 
overthrow or destroy the Government." *^*^ [Emphasis added.] 

Director Kelley's request initiated a process of reconsideration of 
FBI intelligence authority by the Attorney General. ''^^ 

The general study of FBI authority was superceded in December 
1973 when Acting Attorney General Robert Bork, in consultation with 
Attorney General-designate William Saxbe, e:ave higher priority to a 
Departmental inquiry into the FBI's COINTELPRO practices. Re- 
sponsibility for this inquiry was assigned to a committee headed by 
Assistant Attorney General Henry Peterson.^^° 

Even at this stage, the Bureau resisted efforts by the Department to 
look too deeply into its operations. Dii-ector Kelley advised the Acting 
Attorney General that the Department should exclude from its review 
the FBI's "extremely sensitive foreign intelligence collection tech- 
niques." ^^^ 


Intelligence Division and the Bureau's current policy of attempting to rely on 
statutory authority. However, he observed that the statutes upon which the 
FBI was relying were either "designed for the Civil War era. not the Twentieth 
Century" (the rebellion and insurrection laws) or had been "reduced to a fragile 
shell by the Supreme Court" (the Smith Act dealing with advocacy of over- 
throw). Moreover, it was difficult to fit into the statutory framework groups 
"such as the Ku Klux Klan, which do not seek to overthrow the Government, 
but nevertheless are totalitarian in nature and seek to deprive constitutionally 
guaranteed rights." 

Kelley stated that, while the FBI had "statutory authority," it still needed 
"a definite requirement from the President as to the nature and type of intelli- 
gence data he requires in the pursuit of his responsibilities based on our statutory 
authority." (Emphasis added.) While the statutes gave "authority," an Execu- 
tive Order "would define our national security objectives." The FBI Director 
added : 

"It would appear that the President would rather spell out his own renuire- 
ments in an Executive Order instead of having Congress tell him what the FBI 
might do to help him fulfill his obligations and responsibilities as President." 

^^ :\Iemorandum from Kelley to Richardson, 8/7/73. 

®*'' Even before Kelley's request. Deputy Attorney General-Designate WiHiam 
Ruckelshaus (who had served for two months as Acting FBI Director between 
Gray and Kelley), sent a list of questions to the Bureau to begin "an in-dopth 
examination of some of the problems fa cine: the Bureau in the future." (Memo- 
randum from Ruckelshaus to Kelley, 7/20/7.3.) The Ruckelshaus study was 
interrupted by his departure in the "Saturdav Night Massacre" of October 1973. 

*"" Mpmorandum from Bork to Kelley, 12/.5/73. 

"^^ These techniques were handled within the Bureau "on a strictly need-to- 
know basis" and Kelley believed that they should not be included in a study 
"which win be beyond the control of the FBI." (Memorandum from Kelley to 
Bork. 12/11/73.) 

One Bureau memorandum to the Petersen committee even suggested that the 
Attorney General did not have authority over the FBI's foreign connterintelli- 
gence operations, s'nce the Biireau was accountable in this area d1»-ectjv to the 
TTnited State*; Intellie-ence Board and the National Security Council. (Petersen 
Committee Report, pp. .34-3.5.) The Petersen Committee shnrplv rejected this 
view, especiallv because the ad hoc equivalent of the TT.S. Tntellisrence Board 
had approved the discredited "Huston plan" in 1070. Thp Committee declared: 
"There can be no donbt that in the area of foreign counterintelligence, as in all 
its othpv functions, the FBI is subject to the power and authority of the Attorney 
General." (Petersen Committee Report, p. 35.) 


As a result, the Petersen committee's review of COINTELPRO did 
not consider anything more than a brief FBI-prepared summary of 
foreign counterintelligence opei-ations.**^- Moreover, the inquiry into 
domestic COINTELPRO cases was based mainly on short summaries 
of each incident compiled by FBI agents, with Department attorneys 
making only spot-checks of the underlying files to assure the accuracy 
of the summaries. Thus, the inquiry was unable to consider the 
complete story of COINTELPRO as reflected in the actual memoranda 
discussing the reasons for adopting particular tactics and the means 
by which they were implemented.*'^^ 

Thus, at the same time that the Bureau Avas seeking guidance and 
clarification of its authority, vestiges remained of its past resistance 
to outside scrutiny and its desire to rely on Executive authority, rather 
than statute, for the definition of its intelligence activities. 

h. Recent Domestic Intelligence Authority 

In the absence of any new standards imposed by statute, or by the 
Attorney General, the FBI continued to collect domestic intelligence 
under sweeping authorizations issued by the Justice Department in 
1974 for investigations of "subversives," potential civil disturbances, 
and "potential crimes." These authorizations were explicitly based on 
conceptions of inherent Executive power, broader in theory than the 
FBI's own claim in 1973 that its authority could be found in the 
criminal statues. Attorney General Levi has recently promulgated 
guidelines which stand as the first significant attempt by the Justice 
Department to set standards and limits for FBI domestic intelligence 

(1) Executive Order lOIfSO^ As Amended .—The Federal employee 
security program continued to serve as a basis for FBI domestic intel- 
ligence investigations. An internal Bureau memorandum stated that 
the Justice Department's instruction regarding the program : 

specifically requires the FBI to check the names of all civil 
applicants and incumbents of the Executive Branch against 
our records. In order to meet this responsibility FBIHQ 
records must contain identities of all persons connected with 
subversive or extremist activities, together with necessary 
identifying information.*'^^ 

FBI field offices were instructed in mid-1974 to report to Bureau 
headquarters such data as the following : 

Identities of subversive and/or extremist groups or move- 
ments (including front groups) with which subject has been 
identified, period of membership, positions held, and a sum- 
mary of the type and extent of subversive or extremist activi- 
ties engaged in by subject (e.g., attendance at meetings or 

«=- FBI ^Ipmorandnm. "Overall Recommendations — Counterintelligence 
Activity," Appendix to Petersen Committee Report. 

^ Henry Petersen Testimony, 12/8/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 270-71. 

""' Attorney General's Guidelines : "Domestic Security Investigations," "Re- 
porting on Civil Disorders and Demonstrations Involving a Federal Interest," 
and "White House Personnel Security and Background Investigations." 

*"" Memorandum from A. R. Fulton to Mr. Wannall. 7/10/74. See pp. 42-44 for 
discussion of the initiation of the program. 


other functions, fimdraising or recruiting activities on behalf 
of the organization, contributions, etc.) .^^^ 

In June 1974, President Nixon formally abolished the "Attorney 
General's list," upon the recommendation of Attorney General Saxbe. 
However, the President's order retained a revised definition of the 
types of organizations, apsocintion winch wonld still be considered in 
evaluating prospective federal employees.^^^ The Justice Department 
instructed the FBI that it should "detect organizations with a poten- 
tial" for falling within the terms of the order and investigate "indi- 
viduals who are active either as members of or as affiliates of" such 
organizations. The Department instructions added: 

It is not necessary that a crime occur before the investiga- 
tion is initiated, but only that a reasonable evaluation of the 
available information suggests that the activities of the orga- 
nization may fall within the prescription of the Order. . . . 

It is not possihle to set definite ^mrameters covenng the 
init'fat'wn of investigations of potential organizations falling 
within the Order but once the investigation reaches a stage 
that offers a basis for determining that the activities are legal 
in nature, then the investigation should cease, but if the 
investigation suggests a detennination that the organization 
is engaged in illegal activities or potentially illegal activities 
it should continue. [Emphasis added.] 

The Department applied "the same yardstick" to investigations of 
individuals "when information is received suggesting their involve- 
ment." ^^^ 

(2) Civil Dif^orders Intelligence. — The Justice Department also 
instnicted the FBI in 1974 that it should not, as the Bureau had sug- 
gested, limit its civil disturbance reporting "to those particular situ- 
ations which are of such a serious nature that Federal military 
personnel may be called upon for assistance." The Department advised 
that this suggested "guideline" was "not practical" since it "would 
place the burden on the Bureau" to make an initial decision as to 
"whether military personnel mav uHimatelv be needed." and this 
responsibility rested "legally" with the President. Instead, the FBI 
was ordered to "continue" to report on 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 8/16/74. 

^' Executive Order 11785, 6/4/74. The new standard : "Knowing member- 
ship with tlie specific intent of furthering the aims of. or adherence to and active 
participation in, anv foreign or domrstic ornranization, association, movement, 
group, or combination of persons (hereinafter referred to as organizations) 
whicli unlawfull.v adi:ocaies or practices tlie commission of acts of force or 
violence to prevent others from exercising tlieir rights under the Constitution or 
laws of the United States or of any state, or which seelvs to overthrow the Govern- 
ment of the Ignited States or atiy State or subdivisions thereof by unlawful 
menus." [Emphasis added.] 

^^ Memorandum from Glen E. Pommerening, Assistant Attorney General for 
Administration, to Kelley, 11/17/74. 

With respect to one organization, the Department advised the Bureau that 
"despite the abolition" of the Attorney General's list, the groiip "would still 
come within the criteria" of the employee security program if it "may have 
eneaged in activities" of the sort i^roscribed by the revised executive order. 
(Memorandum from Henry E. Petersen to Clarence Kelley, 11/13/74.) 


all significant incidents of civil unrest and should not be 
restricted to situations where, in the judgment of the Bureau, 
military pereonnel eventually may be used.^^° 

Moreover, under this authority the Bureau was also ordered to 
"continue" reporting on 

all disturbances where there are indications that extremist or- 
ganizations such as the Communist Party, Ku Klux Klan, or 
Black Panther Party are believed to be involved in efforts 
to instigate or exploit them. 

The instnictions specifically declared that the Bureau "should make 
timely reports of significant disturbances, even when no specific viola- 
tion of Federal law is indicated.-' This was to be done, at least in part, 
through "liaison" with local law enforcement agencies. '''^^ 

Even after the Justice Department's IDIU dismantled its com- 
puterized data bank, its basic functions continued to be performed 
by a Civil Disturbance Unit in the office of the Deputy Attorney Gen- 
eral, and the FBI was under instructions to disseminate its civil dis- 
turbance reports to that Unit.''*^^ 

FBI officials considered these instructions "significant" because they 
gave it "an official, written mandate from the Department." The 
Department's desires were viewed as "consistent with what we have 
already been doing for the past several years," although the Bureau 
Manual was rewritten to "incorporate into it excerpts from the 
Department's letter." °^^ 

(3) ^'"PotentiaV Crhnes. — The FBI recently abolished completely 
the administrative index (ADEX) of persons considered "dangerous 
now." However, the Justice Department has advanced a theory to 
sup]3ort broad power for the Executive Branch in investigating groups 
which represent a "potential threat to the public safety" or which have 
a "potential" for violating specific statutes. For example, the Depart- 
ment advised the FBI that the General Crimes Section of the Criminal 
Di^'ision had "recommended continued investigation" of one group on 
the basis of "potential violations" of the antiriot statutes.*^*^^ These same 

^ "On the other hand," the instructions stated ambiguously, "the FBI should 
not report every minor local disturbance where there is no apparent interest to 
the President, the Attorney General or other Government officials and agencies." 
(Memorandum from Petersen to Kelley, 10/22/74.) 

*" Memorandum from Petersen to Kelley, 10/22/74. The FBI was expected to 
"be aware of disturbances and patterns of disorder," although it is not to report 
"each and every relatively insignificant incident of a strictly local nature." 

"'- Memorandum from Petersen to Kelley, 10/22/74. Frank Nyland testimony, 
1/27/76, pp. 46-58. 

**^ Memorandum from J. G. Deegan to W. R. Wannall, 10/30/74. From a 
legal viewpoint, the Justice Department's instructors dealing with the col- 
lection of intelligence on potential civil disturbances were significant because 
they relied for authority on : (1) the President's powers under Article IV, section 
4 of the Constitution to protect the states, upon application of the legislature or 
the executive, against "domestic violence;" (2) the statute (10 U.S.C. 331. et 
seq.) authorizing the use of troops; and (3) the Presidential directive of 1969 
desigmting the Attorney General as chief civilian officer to coordinate the 
Government's response to civil disturbances. (Memorandum from Petersen to 
Kellev, 10/22/74 ; Memorandum from Melvin Laird and John Mitchell to the 
President, 4/1/69.) 

^''IS U.S.C. 2101-2102. 


instructions added that there need not be a "potential" for violation 
of any specific statute.^^*' 

(4) CJaim of Inherent Executwe Poioer. — The Department's theory 
of executive power was set forth in 1974 testimony before the House 
Internal Security Committee. According to Deputy Assistant Attorney 
General Kevin Maroney, "the primary basis" for FBI domestic intel- 
ligence authority rests in "the constitutional powers and responsibili- 
ties vested in the President under Article II of the Constitution." 
These powers were specified as : the President's duty imdertakon in his 
oath of office to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the 
United States;" ''^ the Chief Executive's duty to "take Care that the 
Laws be faithfully executed :" '^^^ the President's responsibilities as 
Commander-in-Chief of the military; and his "power to conduct our 
foreign relations." ^^^ 

The chairman of the Internal Security Committee, Rep. Richard H. 
Ichord, stated at that time that, except in limited areas, tlie Congiess 
"has not directly imposed upon the FBI clearly defined duties in the 
acquisition, use, or dissemination of domestic or internal security 
intelligence." ®^° 

Subsequently, the FBI Intelligence Division revised its 1972-1973 
position on its legal authority, and in a paper completed in 1975 it 
returned to the view "that the intelligence-gathering activities of the 
FBI have had as their basis the intention of the President to delegate 

^ Memorandum from Petersen to Kelley, 11/13/74. This memorandum added : 

"[Wjithout a broad range of intelligence information, the President and the 
departments and agencies of the Executive Branch could not properly and ade- 
quately protect our nation's security and enforce the numerous statutes pertain- 
ing thereto . . . [T]he Department, and in particular the Attorney General, 
must continue to be informed of those organizations that engage in violence which 
represent a potential threat to the puWie safety.'" [Emphasis added.] 

*®''The opinion of the Supreme Court in the United States v. United States 
Distriet Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972) — the domestic security wiretapping case — 
stated, "Implicit in that duty is the power to protect our Government against 
those who would subvert or overthrow it by unlawful means.!' 

™' A 19th century Supreme Court opinion was cited as having interpreted the 
word "laws" hroadl.v to encompass not only statutes enacted by Congress, but 
also "the rights, duties, and obligations growing out of the Constitution itself, 
our international relations and all the protection implied liy the nature of Gov- 
ernment under the Constitution." [Tn Re Neagle, 135 U.S. 1 (1890).] 

689 The latter power w^as said to relate "more particularly to the Executive's 
power to conduct foreign intelligence activities here and abroad." (Kevin Maroney 
testimony, "Domestic Intelligence Operations :for Internal Security Purposes," 
Hearings before the House Committee on Internal Security, 93d Cong., 2d Sess. 
(1974), pp. .3.332-3335.) Mr. Maroney added: 

"We recognize the complexity and difficulty of adequately spelling out the 
FBI's authority and responsibility to conduct domestic intelligence-type investi- 
gations. The concept national security is admittedly a broad one, while the term 
subversive activities is even more difficult to define." 

Mr. Marone.v also cited the following from the Supreme Court's opinion in the 
domestic security wiretapping case : "The gathering of security intelligence is 
often long-range and involves the interrelation of various sources and t.vpes of 
information. The exact targets of such surveillance may be more difficult to 
identify . . . Often, too. the empha.=:is of domestic intelligence gathering- is on 
the prevention of unlawful activity or the enhancement of the Government's pre- 
paredness for some possible future crisis or emergenc.v. Thus, the focus of 
domestic surveillance ma.v be less precise than that directed against more con- 
ventional types of crime." [United States v. United States District Court, 407 
U.S. 297, 322 (1972).] 

*™ House Committee on Internal Security Hearings, 1974, pp. 3330-3331. 


his Constitutional authority," as well as the statutes "pertaining to the 
national security." '^''^ 

The Attorney General has continued to assert the claim of inherent 
executive power to conduct warrantless electronic surveillance of 
American citizens, although this power has been exercised sparingly.®" 
The Justice Department has also claimed that this inherent executive 
power permits warrantless surreptitious entries.*^^^ However, the Exec- 
utive Branch has recently joined a bipartisan group of Senators and 
Representatives in sponsoring a legislative proposal requiring judicial 
warrants for all electronic surveillance by the FBI. 

(5) Attoimey General Levi's Guidelines. — During 1975, the Con- 
gress and the Executive Branch began major eft'orts to review the 
field of domestic intelligence. A Presidential commission headed by 
Vice President Rockefeller inquired into the CIA's improper sur- 
veillance of Americans.'^'^ Attorney General Edward H. Levi estab- 
lished a committee in the Justice Department to develop "guidelines" 
for the FBI,*''^ and the Justice Department began to work on draft 
legislation to require warrants for national security electronic sur- 

These efforts have begun to bear fruit in recent months. President 
Ford has issued an Executive Order regulating foreign intelligence 
activities ; ®" Attorney General Levi has promulgated several sets of 
"guidelines" for the FBI.*^'^ And the administration has endorsed a 
specific bill to establish a warrant procedure for all national security 
wiretaps and bugs in the United States.^"^ 

"•^ W. Raymond Wannall, Assistant Director for tlie Intelligence Division. 
Memorandum on the "Basis for FBI National Security Intelligence Investiga- 
tions," 2/13/75. 

•^"^ After several recent transformations, the policy of the Attorney General 
was estahlished as authorizing warrantless surveillance "only when it is shown 
that its suhjects are the active, conscious agents of foreign powers;" and this 
standard "is applied with particular stringency where the subjects are American 
citizens or permanent resident aliens." (.Justice Department memorandum from 
Ron Carr, Special Assistant to the Attorney General, to Mike Shaheen, Counsel 
on Professional Re.sponsibility, 2/26/76. ) 

®" In May 1975, for the first time in American history, the Department of 
.Justice publicly asserted the power of the Executive Branch to conduct warrant- 
less surreptitious entries unconnected with the use of electronic surveillance. This 
occurred in a letter to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Co- 
lumbia concerning an appeal by .John Ehrlichman. Ehrlichman was appealing a 
conviction arising from the break-in at the office of Daniel EUsberg's psychiatrist 
after publication of the "Pentagon Papers" in 1971. 

The Justice Department's position was that "warrantless searches involving 
physical entries into private premises" can be "lawful under the Fourth Amend- 
ment." if they are "very carefully controlled :" 

"There must be solid reason to believe that foreign espionage or intelligence is 
involved. In addition, the intrusion into any zone of expected privacy must be 
kept to the minimum and there must l>e personal authorization by the President 
or the Attorney General." (Letter from John C. Kenney, Acting Assistant Attorney 
General, to Hugh E. Cline. Clerk of the United States Court of Appeals for the 
Distrir-t of Columbia, 5/9/7.5.) 

'"^ Rockefeller Commission Report. 

«^ Levi. 12/11/75. Hearings. Vol. 6. pp. 316-317. 

*•• Levi. 11/6/75. Hearings, Vol. 5, p. 90. 

*" Executive Order 11509. 2/1S/76. 

'" Attorney General's Guidelines. "Domestic Security Investigations". "White- 
house Personnel Security and Background Investigations", and "Reporting on 
Civil Disorders and Demonstrations Im-olving a Federal Interest", 3/10/76. 

*"' S. 3197, introduced 3/23/76. 


These Executive initiatives are a major step forward in creating 
safeguards and establishing standards, but they are incomplete with- 
out legislation.''^'^ Among the issues left open by the President's 
Executive Order, for example, are: (1) the definition of the term 
"foreign subversion" used to characterize the counter-intelligence 
responsibilities of the CIA and the FBI; and (2) clarification of the 
vague provisions in the National Security Act of 1947 relating to the 
authority of the Director of Central Intelligence to protect "sources" 
and "methods;" and (3) amplification of the 1947 Act's prohibition 
against the CIA's exercise of "law enforcement powers" or "internal 
security functions." 

Although they represent only a partial answer to the need for per- 
manent restraints, the initiatives of the Executive Branch demon- 
strate a willingness to seriously consider the need for legislative 
action. The Attorney General has recognized that Executive "guide- 
lines" are not enough to regulate and authorize FBI intelligence 
activities.*^^^ The Committee's conclusions and recommendations in 
Part IV of this report indicate the areas most in need of legislative 

*'° The major questions posed by the President's Executive Order and the 
Attorney General's guidelines for the FBI are discussed in the recommendation 
section of this report, as are the problems with the national security electronic 
surveillance bill. 

'" Levi Testimony, 12/11/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 345. 


The Committee makes seven major findings. Eacli finding is accom- 
panied by snbfindings and by an elaboration wliich draws upon the 
evidentiary record set forth in our historical narrative (Part II here- 
in) and in the thirteen detailed reports which will be published as sup- 
plements to this volume. We have sought to analyze in our findings 
characteristics shared by intelligence programs, practices which in- 
volved abuses, and general problems in the system which led to those 

The findings treat the following themes that run through the facts 
revealed by our investigation of domestic intelligence activity: (A) 
Violating and Ignoring the Law; (B) Overbreadth of Domestic In- 
telligence Activity ; (C) Excessive Use of Intrusive Techniques ; (D) 
Using Covert Action to Disrupt and Discredit Domestic Groups; 
(E) Political Abuse of Intelligence Information; (F) Inadequate 
Controls on Dissemination and Retention; (G) Deficiencies in Con- 
trol and Accountability. 

Viewed separately, each finding demonstrates a serious problem in 
the conduct and control of domestic intelligence operations. Taken 
together, they make a compelling case for the necessity of change. 
Our recommendations (in Part IV) flow from this analysis and pro- 
pose changes which the Committee believes to be appropriate in light 
of the record. 

Major Finding 

The Committee finds that the domestic activities of the intelligence 
community at times violated specific statutory prohibitions and 
infringed the constitutional rights of American citizens.^ The legal 
questions involved in intelligence programs were often not considered. 
On other occasions, they were intentionally disregarded in the be- 
lief that because the programs served the "national security" the law 
did not apply. While intelligence officers on occasion failed to disclose 
to their superiors programs which were illegal or of questionable le- 
gality, the Committee finds that. the most serious breaches of duty 
were those of senior officials, who were responsible for controlling 
intelligence activities and generally failed to assure compliance with 
the law. 


(a) In its attempt to implement instructions to protect the security 
of the United States, the intelligence connnunity engaged in some ac- 

^ This section discusses the legal issues raised by particular programs and ac- 
tivities only : a rliscussion of the aggregate effect upon constitutional rights of all 
domestic surveillance practices is at p. 290 of the Conclusions section. 



tivities which violated statutory law and the constitutional rights of 
American citizens. 

(b) Legal issues were often overlooked by many of the intelligence 
officers who directed these operations. Some held a pragmatic view of 
intelligence activities that did not regularly attach sufficient signifi- 
cance to questions of legality. The question raised was usually not 
whether a particular program Avas legal or ethical, but whether it 

(c) On some occasions when agency officials did assume, or were told, 
that a program was illegal, they still permitted it to continue. They 
justified their conduct in some cases on the ground that the failure of 
"the enemy" to play by the rules granted them the right to do likewise, 
and in other cases on the ground that the "national security" per- 
mitted programs that would otherwise be illegal. 

(d) Internal recognition of the illegality or the questionable le- 
gality of many of these activities frequently led to a tightening of se- 
curity rather than to their termination. Partly to avoid exposure and a 
public "flap," knowledge of these programs was tightly held within 
the agencies, special filing procedures were used, and "cover stories" 
were devised. 

(e) On occasion, intelligence agencies failed to disclose candidly 
their programs and practices to their own General Counsels, and to 
Attorneys General, Presidents, and Congress. 

(f) The internal inspection mechanisms of the CIA and the FBI 
did not keep — and, in the case of the FBI, were not designed to keep — 
the activities of those agencies within legal bounds. Their primary 
concern was efficiency, not legality or propriety. 

(g) Wlien senior administration officials with a duty to control 
domestic intelligence activities knew, or had a basis for suspecting, 
that questionable activities had occurred, they often responded with 
silence or approval. In certain cases, they were presented with a par- 
tial description of a program but did not ask for details, thereby 
abdicating their responsibility. In other cases, they were fully aware 
of the nature of the practice and implicitly or explicitly approved it. 

Elaboration of findings 

The elaboration which follows details the general finding of the 
Committee that inattention to — and disregard of — legal issues was 
an all too common occurrence in the intelligence community. While 
this section focuses on the actions and attitudes of intelligence officials 
and certain high policy officials, i\\& Committee recognizes that a 
pattern of lawless activity does not result from the deeds of a single 
stratum of the government or of a few individuals alone. The imj^le- 
mentation and continuation of illegal and questionable programs 
would not have been possible witliout the cooperation or tacit approval 
of people at all levels within and above the intelligence community, 
through many successive administrations. 

The agents in the field, for their part, rarely questioned the orders 
they received. Their often uncertain knowledge of the law, coupled 
with the natural desire to please one's superiors and with simple 
bureaucratic momentum, clearly contributed to their willingness to 
participate in illec:al and questionable ]:)rograms. The absence of any 
prosecutions for law^ violations by intelligence agents inevitably af- 


fected their attitudes as well. Under pressure from above to accom- 
plish their assigned tasks, and without the realistic threat of prosecu- 
tion to remind them of their legal obligations, it is understandable 
that these agents frequently acted without concern for issues of law 
and at times assumed that normal legal restraints and prohibitions 
did not apply to their activities. 

Significantly, those officials at the highest levels of government, 
who had a duty to control the activities of the intelligence community, 
sometimes set in motion the very forces that permitted lawlessness to 
occur — even if every act committed by intelligence agencies was not 
known to them. By demanding results without carefully limiting the 
means by which the results were achieved; by over-emphasizing the 
threats to national security without ensuring sensitivity to the rights 
of American citizens ; and by propounding concepts such as the right 
of the "sovereign" to break the law, ultimate responsibility for the 
consequent climate of permissiveness should be placed at their door.^ 

Suhfinding (a) 

In its attempt to implement instructions to protect the security of 
the United States, the intelligence community engaged in some acti\d- 
ties which violated statutory law and the constitutional rights of 
American citizens. 

From 1940 to 1973, the CIA and the FBI engaged in twelve covert 
mail opening programs in violation of Sections 1701-1703 of Title 18 
of the United States Code which prohibit the obstruction, intercep- 
tion, or opening of mail. Both of these agencies also engaged in war- 
rantless "surreptitious entries'' — break-ins — against American citizens 
within the United States in apparent violation of state laws prohibit- 
ing trespass and burglary. Section 605 of the Federal Communications 
Act of 1934 was violated by NSA's program for obtaining millions 
of telegrams of Americans unrelated to foreign targets and by the 
Army Security Agency's interception of domestic radio communi- 

All of these activities, as well as the FBI's use of electronic surveil- 
lance without a substantial national security predicate, also infringed 
the rights of countless Americans under the Fourth Amendment 
protection "aaainst unreasonable searches and seizures." 

The abusive techniques used by the FBI in COINTELPRO from 
1956 to 1971 included violations of both federal and state statutes pro- 
hibiting mail fraud, wire fraud, incitement to violence, sending 
obscene material through the mail, and extortion. More fundamentally, 
the harassment of innocent citizens engaged in lawful forms of polit- 
ical expression did serious injury to the First Amendment guarantee 
of freedom of speech and the right of the people to assemble peaceabl}" 
and to petition tlie government for a redress of grievances. The 
Bureau's maintenance of the Security Index, which targeted thousands 
of American citizens for detention in the event of national emergency, 
clearly overstepped the permissible l30unds established by Congress 
in the Emergency Detention Act of 1950 and represented, in contra- 
vention of the Act, a potential general suspension of the privilege 

' Thp accountability of senior administration oflBcials is noted here to place 
the details which follow in their proper context, and is developed at greater 
length in Finding G, p. 265. 


of the writ of habeas corpus secured by Article I, Section 9, of the 

A distressing- number of the programs and techniques developed 
by the intelligence community involved transgressions against human 
decency that were no less serious than any technical violations of law. 
Some of the most fundamental values of this society were threatened by 
activities such as the smear campaign against Dr. Martin Luther 
King, Jr., the testing of dangerous drugs on unsuspecting American 
citizens, the dissemination of information about the sex lives, drinking 
habits, and marital problems of electronic surveillance targets, and 
the COINTELPRO attempts to turn dissident organizations against 
one another and to destroy marriages. 

SkI) finding (b) 

Legal issues were often overlooked by many of the intelligence 
officers who directed these operations. Some held a pragmatic view 
of intelligence activities that did not regularly attach sufficient sig- 
nificance to questions of legality. The question raised was usually not 
whether a particular program was legal or ethical, but whether it 

Legal issues were clearly not a primary consideration — if they were 
a consideration at all — in many of the programs and techniques of 
the intelligence community. When the former head of the FBI's Ra- 
cial Intelligence Section was asked whether anvbody in the FBI at 
any time during the 15-year course of COINTELPBO discussed its 
constitutionality or legal autl^ority, for example, he replied : "No, we 
never gave it a thought." '' This attitude is echoed by other Bureau 
officials in connection with other programs. The former Section Chief 
of one of the FBI's Counterintelligence sections, and the former 
Assistant Director of the Bureau's Domestic Intelligence Division 
both testified that legal considerations were simply not raised in policy 
decisions concerning the FBI's mail opening programs.^ Similarly, 
when the FBI was presented with the opportunity to assume responsi- 
bility for the CIA's New York mail opening operation, legal factors 
played no role in the Bureau's refusal ; rather, the opportunity was 
declined simply because of the attendant expense, manpower require- 
ments, and security problems.^ 

One of the most abusive of all FBI programs was its attempt to 
discredit Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet fonner FBI Assistant 
Director William C. Sullivan testified that he "never heard anyone 
raise the question of legality or constitutionality, never." ^ 

Former Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms testified 
publicly that he never seriouslv questioned the legal status of the 
twenty-year CIA New York mail opening project because he assumed 
his predecessor, Allen Dulles, had "made his legal peace with [it]." '^ 

' Georffe C. Moore testimony. 11/3/75. p. 83. 

*Bramgan testimony, 10/9/75, pp. 13, 139, 140; Wannall testimony, 10/24/75, 
Hearings. Vol. 4, p. 149. 

^ Branigan, 10/9/75, p. 89. 

* William C. Sullivan testimony, 11/1/7,5, pp. 49, 50. 

"^ Rioharcl Helms, 10/22/75. Hearings. Vol. 4, p. 94. This testimony is partially 
contradicted, however, hy the fact that in 1970 Helms signed the HxLSton Report, 
in which "covert mail coverage" — defined as mail opening — was specifically 
described as illegal. (Special Report, .Tune 1970, p. 30.) 


". . . [F]rom time to time," he said, "the Agency got useful informa- 
tion out of it," ^ so he permitted it to continue throughout his seven- 
year tenure as Director. 

The Huston Plan that was prepared for President Richard Nixon 
in June 1970 constituted a virtual charter for the use of intrusive and 
illegal techniques against American dissidents as well as foreign 
agents. Its principal author has testified, however, that during the 
drafting sessions with representatives of the FBI, CIA, NSA, and 
Defense Intelligence Agency, no one ever objected to any of the rec- 
ommendations on the grounds that they involved illegal acts, nor was 
the legality or constitutionality of any of the recommendations ever 

William C. Sullivan, who participated in the drafting of the Huston 
Plan and sein^ed on the United States Intelligence Board and as FBI 
Assistant Director for Intelligence for 10 years, stated that in his 
entire experience in the intelligence community he never heard legal 
issues raised at all : 

We never gave any thought to this realm of reasoning, be- 
cause we were just naturally pragmatists. The one thing we 
were concerned about was this: Will this course of action 
work, will it get us what we want, will we reach the ob- 
jective that we desire to reach? As far as legality is con- 
cerned, morals, or ethics, [it] was never raised by myself or 
anybody else ... I think this suggests really in government 
that we are amoral. In government — I am not speaking for 
everybody — the general atmosphere is one of amorality.^° 

Subfinding [c) 

On some occasions when agency officials did assume, or were told, 
that a program was illegal, they still permitted it to continue. They 
justified their conduct in some cases on the ground that the failure of 
"the enemy" to play by the rules granted them the right to do likewise, 
and in other cases on the ground that the "national security" permitted 
programs that would otherwise be illegal. 

Even when agency officials recognized certain programs or tech- 
niques to be illegal, they sometimes advocated their implementation 
or permitted them to continue nonetheless. 

This point is illustrated by a passage in a 1954 memorandum from 
an FBI Assistant Director to J. Edgar Hoover, which recommended 
that an electronic listening device be planted in the hotel room of a 
suspected Communist sympathizer: "Although such an installation 
will not be legal, it is believed that the intelligence information to be 
obtained will make such an installation necessary and desirable." ^^ 
Hoover approved the installation.^^ 

More than a decade later, a memorandum was sent to Director 
Hoover which described the current FBI policy and procedures for 
"black bag jobs" (warrantless break-ins for purposes other than micro- 
phono installation) . This memorandum read in part : 

^ Helms, 10/22/7.5. Hearings. Vol. 4, p. 103. 

' Huston. 9/23/75. Hearings. Vol. 2, p. 21. 

-" Sullivan. 11/1/75, pp. 92, 93. 

" Alpmorandum from Mr. Boardman to the Director, FBI, 4/30/54. 

" Ibid. 


Such a technique involves trespass and is clearly illegal; 
therefore, it would be impossible to obtain any legal sanction 
for it. Despite this, "black bag" jobs have been used because 
they represent an invaluable technique in combatting sub- 
versive activities . . . aimed directly at undermining and de- 
stroying our nation.^^ 

In other words, breaking the law, was seen as useful in combating 
those who threatened the legal fabric of society. Although Hoover 
terminated the general use of "black bag jobs" in July 1966, they were 
employed on a large scale before that time and have been used in 
isolated instances since then. 

Another example of disregard for the law is found in a 1969 memo- 
randum from William C. Sullivan to Director Hoover. In June of 
that year, Sullivan was requested by the Director, apparently at the 
urging of White House officials to travel to France for the purpose of 
electronically monitoring the convei-sations of journalist Joseph 
Kraft." With the cooperation of local authorities, Sullivan was able 
to have a microphone installed in Kraft's hotel room, and informed 
Hoover of his success. "Parenthetically," he wrote in his letter to the 
Director, "I might add that such a cover is regarded as illegal." ^^ 

The attitude that legal standards and issues of privacy can be over- 
ridden by other factors is further reflected in a memorandum written 
by Richard Helms in connection wnth the testing of dangerous drugs 
on unsuspecting American citizens in 1963. Mr. Helms wrote the 
Deputy Director of Central Intelligence: 

While I share your uneasiness and distaste for any program 
which tends to intrude on an individual's private and legal 
prerogatives, I believe it is necessary that the Agency main- 
tain a central role in this activity, keep current on enemy 
capabilities in the manipulation of hmiian behavior, and 
maintain an offensive capability. I, therefore, recommend 
your approval for continuation of this testimony pro- 
gram . . .^^^ 

The history of the CIA's New York mail opening program is re- 
plete with examples of conscious contravention of the law. The origi- 
nal proposal for large-scale mail opening in 1955, for instance, ex- 
plicitly recognized that "[tjhere is no overt, authorized or legal cen- 
sorship or monitoring of first class mails which enter, depart or 
transit the United States at the present time." " A 1962 memorandum 
on the project noted that its exposure could "give rise to grave charges 
of criminal misuse of the mails by Government agencies" and that 
"existing Federal statutes preclude the concoction of any legal excuse 
for the violation . . ." ^^ And again in 1963, a CIA officer wrote : 
"Tliere is no legal basis for monitoring postal communications in the 
ITnited States except during time of war or national emergency . . ." ^* 

" Memorandum from W. C. Sullivan to C. D. DeLoacli, 7/19/66. 

" Report of the House Judiciary Committee, 8/20/74, p. 150. 

^" Memorandum from William C. Sullivan to J. Ed^^ar Hoover, 6/30/69. 

^■"'' Memorandum from Richard Helms to the Deputy Director of Central Intelli- 
gence, 12/17/63. 

^^ Blind memorandum, 11/7/55. 

^' ^Memorandum from Deputy Chief, Counterintelligence Staff, to Director, Of- 
fice of Security, 2/1/62. 

"' Memorandum from Chief, Cl/Project to Chief, Division, 9/26/63. 


Both the former Chief of the Counterintelligence Staff and the former 
Director of Security — who were in charge of the New York project — ■ 
testified that they believed it to be illegal.^'' One Inspector General who 
reviewed the project in 1969 also flatly stated: "[0]f course, we 
knew that this was illegal. . . . [EJverybody knew that it was 
[illegal]. . . ."-° 

In spite of the general recognition of its illegality, the New York 
mail opening project continued for a total of 20 years and was not 
terminated until 1973, when the Watergate-created political climate 
had increased the risks of exposure.-^ 

With the full knowledge of J. Edgar Hoover, moreover, the FBI 
continued to receive the fruits of this project for three years after the 
FBI Director informed the President of the United States that "the 
FBI is opposed to implementing any covert mail coverage because it is 
clearly illegal . . .'" - The Bureau's own mail opening programs had 
been terminated in 1966, but it continued intentionally and knowingly 
to benefit from the illegal acts of the CIA until 1973. 

The Huston Plan is another disturbing reminder of the fact that 
intelligence programs and techniques may be advocated and author- 
ized with the kiiowledge that they are illegal. At least two of the 
options that were presented to President Nixon were described as 
unlawful on the face of the Report. Of "covert mail coverage" (mail 
opening) it was written that "[t]his coverage, not having the sanction 
of law, runs the risk of any illicit act magnified by the involvement of 
a Government agency." ^^ The Report also noted that surreptitious 
entry "involves illegal entry and trespass." ^* Thus, the intelligence 
community presented the nation's highest executive official with the 
option of approving courses of action described as illegal. The fact 
that President Nixon did authorize them, even if only for five days, is 
more disquieting still. -^ 

When President Nixon eventually revoked his approval of the Hus- 
ton Plan, the intelligence community nevertheless proceded to initiate 
some programs suggested in the Plan. Intelligence agencies also con- 
tinued to employ techniques recommended in the Plan, such as mail 
opening which had been used previously without pi-esidential ap- 

^* Angleton, 9/24/75, Hearings, Vol. 2, p. 61 ; Howard Osborn, deposition, 
8/28/75, p. 90. 

'" Gordon Stewart, 9/30/75, p. 28. 

^^ See e.g., Howard Osborn deposition, 8/28/75. p. 89. 

^^ Special Report, June 1970, p. 31. 

"■^ Special Report, June 1970, p. 30. 

"* Special Report, June 1970, p. 32. 

" President Nixon stated that he approved these activities in part because they 
"had been found to be effective." (Response of Richard M. Nixon to Senate Select 
Committee Interrogatory 19, 3/9/76, p. 13.) 

^' For a description of the techniques which continued or were subsequently 
instituted, see pp. 115-116. 

A memorandum from John Dean to John Mitchell suggests that, after Presi- 
dent Nixon's revocation of approval for the Huston Plan, the White House itself 
supported the continued pursuit of some of the objectives of the Huston Plan. 
Through an interagency unit known as the Intelligence Evaluation Committee. 
(Memorandum from John Dean to the Attorney General, 9/18/70.) In this 
memorandum. Dean suggested the creation of such a unit for "both operational 
and evaluation purposes." He wrote in part : 

"[T]he unit can serve to make appropriate recommendations for the type of 
intelligence that should be immediately pursued by the various agencies. In 



The recent history of Army intelligence provides an additional ex- 
ample of continuing an activity described as illegal. Beginning in 
1967, the Army Security Agency monitored the radio communications 
of amateur radio operators in this country to determine if dissident 
elements planned disruptive activity at particular demonstrations and 
events. Because Army officials questioned whether such monitoring 
was legal under Section 605 of the Federal Communications Act of 
1934, they requested a legal opinion from the Federal Communications 
Commission. At a meeting held in August 1968, the FCC advised the 
Army that such monitoring was illegal imder the Act. FCC repre- 
sentatives also stated that the matter had been raised with Attorney 
General Ramsey Clark and that he had disapproved the program.^^ 
The FCC agreed, however, to submit a written reply to the Army, 
stating onlv that it could not "provide a positive answer to the Army's 
proposal." ^^ 

Despite havino- been toVl that their monitoring activity was illegal, 
and that the Attorney General himself disapproved it, the Army 
Security Agency continued to monitor the radio communications of 
American citizens for another two years.^^ 

Several factors may explain the intelligence community's frequent 
disregard of le.Qfal issues. 

Some intelligence officials expressed the view that the legal and 
ethical restraints that applied to the rest of society simplv did not 
apply to intelligence activities. This concept is reflected in a 1959 
memorandum on the Armv's covert drug testing ])rogram : "In intelli- 
gence, the stakes involved and the interest of national security may 
permit a more tolernnt interpretation of moral-ethical values . . ." ^° 

As William C. Sullivan also pointed out. many intelligence officers 
had been imbued with a "war psychologv." "Legality was not ques- 
tioned," he said, "it was not an issue." " In war, one simply did what 


regard to this . . . point, I believe we agreed that it would be inappropriate to 
have any blanket removal of restrictions : rather, the most appropriate pro- 
cedure would be to decide on the type of intelMgence we need, based on an 
assessment of the recommendations of this unit, and then to proceed to remove 
the restraints as necessary to obtain such intelligence." (Dean memorandum, 

" Memomndum for the record by Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelli- 
gence, S/16/68; Staff summary of So] T indenbaum (former Executive Assistant 
to the Attorney General ) interview, 5/8/75. 

^Memorandum for the record by Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelli- 
gence. 8/16/68. 

^The Army's general domestic surypjllau'^e provides an example of 
evasion of a departmental order which had been issued out of concern with 
legal issues. The practice of collecting vast amovmts of information on American 
citizens was terminated in 1971, when new Department of Defense restrictions 
came into effect calling for the destruction of all files on "unaffiliated" persons 
and organizations. Rather than destroying the files, however, several Army 
intelligence units simply turned their intelligence files on dis^sident indi-<'idual 
and groups over to local police authorities : and one Air Forf'e counterintelligence 
unit in San Diego hecan to create new files the next year. (Hearings be^'ore Sub- 
committee on Constitutional Rights, rnmmittee ou tb<^ .Tudi^iary, T^.S. Senate. 
n2nd Congress, 1st session, 1971, u. 1297: "Ex-FBI Aid Accused in Police Spy 
Heannrrs " Chimnn Trihvvf. 6/21/75. p. 3.) 

'° TTSAINTC Staff Study : Material Testing Program EA 1729. 10/1.5/59. 

^ Sullivan attributes much of this attitude to the molding influence of World 
War II upon young intelligence agents who later rose to positions of influence in 


one was "expected to do as a soldier." ^^ "It was my assumption," said 
one FBI official connected with the Bureau's mail opening programs, 
"that what we were doing was justified by what we had to do." ^^ 
Since the "enemy" did not play by the rules, moreover, intelligence 
officials often believed they could not afford to do so either."* 

One FBI intelligence officer appeared to attribute the disregard of 
the law in the Bureau's COINTELPRO operations to simple restless- 
ness on the part of "action-oriented" FBI agents. George C. Moore, 
the Racial Intelligence Section Chief, testified that : 

. . . the FBI's counterintelligence program came up because 
if you have anything in the FBI, you have an action-oriented 
group of people who see something happening and want to do 
something to take its place.^^ 

Others in the intelligence community have contended that ques- 
tionable and illegal acts were justified by a law higher than the 
United States Code or the Constitution. An FBI Counterintelligence 
Section Chief, for example, stated the following reason for believing 
in the necessity of techniques such as mail opening: 

The greater good, the national security, this is correct. This 
is what I believed in. Why I thought these programs were 
good, it was that the national security required this, this is 

Similarly, when intelligence officials secured the cooperation of tele- 
graph company executives for Project SHAMROCK, in which NSA 
received millions of copies of international telegraph messages with- 
out the sender's knowledge, they assured the executives that they would 
not be subjected to criminal liability because the project was "in the 
highest interests of the nation." ^^ 

the intelligence community. (Sullivan, 11/1/75, pp. M-95.) Disregard of the 
"niceties of law," he stated, continued after the war had ended : 

"Along came the Cold War. We pursued the same course in the Korean War, 
and the Cold War continued, then the Vietnam War. We never freed ourselves 
from that psychology that we were indoctrinated with, right after Pearl Harbor, 
you see. I think this accounts for the fact that nobody seemed to be concerned 
about raising the question is this lawful, is this legal, is this ethical? It was just 
like a soldier in the battlefield. When he shot down an enemy he did not ask 
himself is this legal or lawful, is it ethical? It is what he was expected to do 
as a soldier." 

"We did what we were expected to do. It became part of our thinking, a part 
of our personality." ( Sullivan. 11/1 /75. pp. 95, 96. ) 

Unfortunately, it made too little difference whether the "enemy" was a foreign 
spy, a civil rights leader, or a Vietnam protester. 

^- RulMvan, 11/1/75, p. 96. 

=' Branigan, 10/9/75. p. 41. 

^' Staff summary of William C. Sullivan interview, 6/10/75. 

^ Moore deposition, 11/3/75. p. 79. 

®^ Branigan deposition, 1/9/75, p. 41. Richard Helms referred to another kind 
of "greater good" when asked to speculate about the possible motivation of a 
CIA scientist who did not heed President Nixon's directive to destroy all biologi- 
cal and chemical toxins. Noting that the scientist might have "had thoughts 
about immunization ... or treatment of disease where [the toxin he had devel- 
oped! might be useful," Helms said that the retention of (this biological agent 
could be explained as "yielding to that human impulse of the greater good." 
(Pich.ird Helms testimony. 9/15/7.5, p. 96.) 

'^Robert Andrews testimony 9/23/75, p. 34: See NSA Report: "SHAMROCK." 
By cooperating with the Government in SHAMROCK, executives of three com- 
panies chose to ignore tiie advice of their respective legal counsels who had recom- 

( Continued) 

68-786 O - 76 - 11 


Perhaps the most novel reason for advocating illegal action was 
proffered by Tom Charles Huston. Huston explained that he believed 
the real threat to internal security was potential repression by right- 
wing forces within the United States. He argued that the "New Left" 
was capable of producing a climate of fear that would bring forth 
every repressive demagogue in the country. Huston believed that the 
intelligence professionals, if given the chance, could protect the people 
from the latent forces of repression by monitoring the New Left, 
including by illegal means.^^ Illegal action directed against the New 
Left, in other words, should be used by the Government to forestall 
potential repression by the Right. 

In attempting to explain why illegal activities were advocated 
and defended, the impact of the attitudes and actions of government 
officials in supervisory positions — Presidents, Cabinet officers, and 
Congressmen — should not be discounted. Their occasional endorsement 
of such activities, as well as the atmosphere of permissiveness created 
by their emphasis on national security and their demands for results, 
clearly contributed to the notion that strict adherence to the law was 
unimportant. So, too, did the concept, propounded by some senior 
officials, that a "sovereign" president may authorize violations of the 

A^^iatever the reasons, however, it is clear that a number of intelli- 
gence officers acted in knowing contravention of the law. 

Subfinding (d) 

Internal recognition of the illegality or questionable legality of 
many of these activities frequently led to a tightening of security 
rather than to their termination. Partly to avoid exposure and a public 
"flap," knowledge of these programs was tightly held within the agen- 
cies, special filing procedures were used, and "cover stories" were 

"When intelligence agencies realized that certain programs and tech- 
niques were of questionable legality, they frequently took special 
security precautions to avoid public exposure, criticism, and embarrass- 
ment. The CIA's study of student unrest throughout the world in the 
late 1960s, for example, included a section on student dissent in the 
United States, an area that was clearly outside the Agency's statutory 
charter. DCI's Hichard Helms urged the President's national secu- 
ritv advisor, Henry Kissinger, to treat it with extreme sensivity in 
light of the acknowledged jurisdictional violation : 

"Herewith is a sun^'ev of student dissidence world-wide as re- 
quested by the President. In an effort to round out our discus- 
sion of this subject, we have included a section on American 
students. This is an area not within the charter of this Agency, 
so I need not emphasize how extremely sensitive this makes 
the paper. Should anyone learn of its existence, it would prove 
most embarrassing for all concerned." *° 

Concern for the FBI's public imasfe prompted security measures 
which protected numerous questionable activities. For example, in 


mended ag'ainst participation because they considered the program to be in 
violation of the law and FCC regulations. Olemorandnm for the record, Armed 
Forces Security Agency. Subject: SHAMROCK Operation. ,S/25/50.) 

^Tom Charles Huston deposition, 5/22/75, p. 43; Staff Summary of Tom 
Charles Huston interview, 5/22/75. 

*" Letter from Richard Helms to Henry Kissinger, 2/18/69. 


approving or denying COINTELPRO proposals, many of which were 
clearly illegal, a main consideration was preventing "eanbarrassment 
to the Bureau."*^ A characteristic caution to FBI agents appears in 
the letter which initiated the COINTELPEO against "Black 
Nationalists" : 

You are also cautioned that the nature of this new endeavor 
is such that under no circumstances should the existence of 
the program be made known outside the Bureau and appro- 
priate w^thin-ofRce security should be afforded to sensitive 
operations and techniques considered under the program. 

Examples of attention to such security are that anonymous letters had 
to be written on commercially purchased stationery ; newsmen had to 
be so completely trustworthy that they were guaranteed not to reveal 
the Bureau's interest; and inquiries of law enforcement officials had to 
be made under the pretext of a criminal investigation. 

A similar preoccupation with security measures for improper activ- 
ities affected both the NSA and the Army Security Agency. 

XSA's guidelines for its watch list activity provided that NSA's 
name should not be on any of the disseminated watch list material 
involving Americans. The aim was to "restrict the knowledge that 
such information is being collected and processed" by NSA.*^ 

The Army Security Agency's radio monitoring acti\"ity, which con- 
tinued even after the Anny was told that the FCC and the Attorney 
General regarded it as illegal, also had to be conducted in secrecy if a 
public outcry was to be avoided. When Army officials decided to per- 
mit radio monitoiing in connection with the military's Civil Dis- 
turbance Collection Plan, their instruction provided that all ASA 
personnel had to be "disguised" either in civilian clothes or as members 
of regular military units."** 

The perceived illegality- — and consequent "flap potential" — of the 
CIA's New York mail opening project led Agency officials to for- 
mulate a drastic strategy to follow in the event of public exposure. 
A review of the project by the Inspector General's Office in the early 
1960s concluded that it would be desirable to fabricate a "cover story." 
A formal recommendation was therefore made that "[a]n emergency 
plan and cover story be prepared for the possibility that the operation 
might be blown." *^ In response to this recommendation, the Deputy 
Chief of the Counterintelligence Staff agreed that "a 'flap' Avill put 
us 'out of business' immediately and may give rise to grave charges 
of criminal misuse of the mails by government agencies," but he 
argued : 

^^ See COINTELPRO Report : Sec. V, "Outside the Bureau" memorandum ; from 
FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 8/25/67. 

^ Buffliam, 9/12/75, p. 20 ; MINARET Charter, 7/1/69. 

At other times, however, NSA's special security measures were applied to 
protect documents which concerned far more than NSA. Thus, at Richard Helms 
suggestion, Huston Plan working papers and documents were all stamped with 
legends designed to protect NSA's lawful communications activity, although only 
a small iwrtion of the documents actually concerned NSA. (Unaddressed memo- 
randum, Subject : "Interagency Committee on Intelligence, Working Subcom- 
mittee, Minutes of the First Meeting," 6/10/70. ) 

** Department of Army Message to Subordinate Commands, 3/31/68. 

*^ CIA memorandum. Subject : In.spector General's Survey of the Office of 
Security, Annex II, undated. 


Since no good purpose can be served by an official admission 
of the violation, and existing Federal statutes preclude the 
concoction of any legal excuse for the violation, it must be 
recognized that no cover story is available to any Govern- 
ment Agency. Therefore, it is important that all Federal law 
enforcement and US Intelligence Agencies vigorously deny 
any association, direct or indirect, with any such activity as 
charged, . . . Unless the charge is supported by the presenta- 
tion of interior items from the Project, it should be I'elatively 
easy to "hush up" the entire affair, or to explain that it consists 
of legal mail cover activities conducted by the Post Office at 
the request of authorized Federal agencies. Under the most 
unfavorable circumstances ... it might be necessary after the 
matter has cooled off during an extended period of investi- 
gation, to find a scapegoat to blame for unauthorized tamper- 
ing with the mails. Such cases by their veiy nature do not 
have much appeal to the imagination of the public, and this 
would be an effective way to resolve the initial charge of 
censorship of the mails.**' 

This strategy of complete denial and transferring blame to a scape- 
goat was approved by the Director of Security in February 1962.*^ 

Another extreme example of a security measure that was adopted be- 
cause of the threat that illegal activity might be exposed was the out- 
right destruction of files. 

The FBI developed a special filing system — or, more accurately, a 
destruction system — for memoranda written about illegal techniques, 
such as break-ins,*' and highly questionable operations, such as the mi- 
crophone surveillance of Joseph Kraft.^'' Under this system — which 
was referred to as the "DO XOT FILE" procedure — authorizing doc- 
uments and other memoranda were filed in special safes at headquarters 
and field offices until the next annual inspection by the Inspection Di- 
vision, at which time they were to be systematically destroyed.^" 

*^ Memorandum from Deputy Chief, CI Staff, to Director Office of Security, 

" Memorandum from Sheffield Edwards, Director of Security, to Deputy Di- 
rector for Support. 2/21/62. 

*' Memorandum from W. C. Sullivan to C. D. DeLoach. 7/19/66. The same docu- 
ment that describes the application of the "DO NOT FILE'' procedure to "black 
bag jobs" also notes that before a break-in could be approved within the FBI, the 
Special Agent in Charge of the field office had to assure headquarters that it 
could be accomplished without "embarrassment to the Bureau." (Sullivan memo- 
randum, 7/19/66.) 

An isolated instance of file destruction apparently occurred in the Los Angeles 
office of the Internal Revenue Ser\-ice in December 1974. at a time when Con- 
gressional investigation of the intelligence agencies was imminent. TWs office had 
collected large amounts of essentially political information regarding black mil- 
itants and political activists. In violation of internal document destruction pro- 
cedures the files were destroyed prior to their proposed review by IRS author- 
ities. See IRS Report ; Sec. IV. "The Information Gathering and Retrieval Sy.s- 
tem" ; Staff Summary of interview with Chief, IRS Division, Los Angeles, 8/1/75. 

*^ For example, letters from W. C. Sullivan to J. Edgar Hoover, 6/30/69. 7/2/69, 
7/3/69, 7/7/69. These letters were sent to Hoover from Paris, where Sullivan 
coordinated the Kraft surveillance. All of them bear the notation "DO NOT 

^ Memorandum from W. C. Sullivan to C. D. DeLoach, 7/19/66. 


Sub-finding {e) 

On occasion, intelligence agencies failed to disclose candidly pro- 
grams and practices to their own General Counsels, and to Attorney 
Generals, Presidents, and Congress. 

[1) Concealment from Executive Branch Officials 

Intelligence officers frequently concealed or misrepresented illegal 
activities to their own General Counsel and superiors within and out- 
side the agencies in order to protect these activities from exposure. 

For example, during the entire 20-year history of the CIA's mail 
opening project, the Agency's General Counsel was never informed of 
its existence. According to one Agency official, this knoAvledge was 
purposefully kept from him. Former Inspector General Gordon SteAv- 
art testified : 

Well, I am sure that it was held back from [the General 
Counsel] on purpose. An operation of this sort in the CIA is 
rmi — if it is closely held, it is run by those people immediately 
concerned, and to the extent that it is really possible, accord- 
ing to the practices that we had in the fifties and sixties, those 
persons not immediately concerned were supposed to be 
ignorant of it.^^ 

The evidence also indicates that two Directors of Central Intelli- 
gence under whom the New York mail operations continued — John 
McCone and Admiral Raborn — were never informed of its existence.^'' 
In 1954, Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield was informed that 
the CIA operated a mail cover project in New York, but he was not 
told that the Agency opened or intended to open any mail.^"* In 1965, the 
CIA briefly considered informing Postmaster General John A. Gro- 
nouski about the project when its existence was felt to be jeopardized 
by a congressional subcommittee that was investigating the use of mail 
covers and other investigative techniques by federal agencies. Accord- 
ing to an internal memorandum, however, the idea was quickly re- 
jected "in view of various statements by Gronouski before this sub- 
committee." ^* Since Gronouski had agreed with the subcommittee that 
tighter administrative controls on mail covers were necessary and gen- 
erally supported the principle of the sanctity of the mail, it is reason- 
able to infer that CIA officials assumed he would not be sympathetic 
to the technique of mail opening.'" 

"^ Gordon Stewart, 9/30/75, p. 29. 

^ McCone, 10/9/75, pp. 3-4 ; Angleton, 9/17/75, p. 20 ; Osbom, 10/21/75 ; Hear- 
ing:s, Vol. 4, p. 38. 

^^ Memorandum from Richard Helms to Director of Security, 5/17/74 ; Helms, 
10/22/75, Hearings, Vol. 4, p. 84. By the CIA's own account, moreover, at most 
only three Cabinet-level officials may have been told about the mail opening as- 
pects of this project. Each of these three — Postmasters General J. Edward Day 
and Winton M. Blount, and Attorney General John Mitchell — dispute the Agen- 
cy's claim. (Dav, 10/22/75, Hearings, Vol. 4, p. 45; Blount, 10/22/75, Hearings, 
Vol. 4, p. 47 ; Mitchell, 10/2/75, pp. 13-14.) 

" Blind memorandum from "CIA Officer," 4/23/65. 

^Ibid. Mr. Gronouski testified as follows about the CIA's successful attempt 
to keep knowledge of the New York project from him : 

"When this news [about CIA mail opening] broke [in 1975), I thought it was 
incredible that a person in a top position of responsibility in Government in an 
agency should have something of this sort that is very illegal going on wathin 
his own agency and did not know about it. It is not that I did not try to know 
about these things. I think it is incumbent upon anybody at the top office to try 
to know everything that goes on in his organization." (Gronouski, 10/22/75, 
Hearings, Vol. 4 p. 44. ) 


The only claim that any President may have known about the proj- 
ect was made by Richard Helms, who testified that "there was a pos- 
sibility" that he "mentioned" it to President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 
or 1968.^*^ No documentary evidence is available that either supports or 
refutes this statement. During the preparation of the Huston Plan, 
neither CIA nor FBI representatives informed Tom Charles Huston, 
President Nixon's representative, that the mail opening project 
existed. The final interagency report on the Pluston Plan signed by 
Richard Helms and J. Edgar Hoover, was sent to the President with 
the statement, contrary to fact, that all mail opening programs by 
federal agencies had been discontinued.^^ 

In connection with another CIA mail opening project, middle- level 
Agency officials apparently did not even tell their own superiors with- 
in the CIA that they intended to open mail, as opposed to merely in- 
specting envelope exteriors. The ranking officials testified that they 
approved the project believing it to be a mail cover progi'am only.-^^ 
No Cabinet officials or President knew of this project and the approval 
of the Deputy Chief Postal Inspector (for what he also believed to 
be a mail cover operation) was secured through conscious deception.^^ 
, A pattern of concealment was repeated by the FBI in their mail 
opening programs. There is no claim by the Bureau that any Post- 
master General, Attorney General, or President was ever advised of 
the true nature and scope of its mail projects. One FBI official testified 
that it was an unofficial Bureau policy not to inform postal officials 
with whom they dealt of the actual intention of FBI agents in receiv- 
ing the mail, and there is no indication that this policy was ever 
violated.*^" At one point in 1965, Assistant Director Alan Belmont and 
Inspector Donald Moore apparently infonned Attorney General 
Nicholas deB. Katzenbach that FBI agents received custody of the 
mail in connection with espionage cases on some occasions."^ But 
Moore testified that the Attorney General was not told that mail was 
actually opened, "\^^len asked if he felt any need to hold back from 
Katzenbach the fact of mail openings as opposed to the fact that Bu- 
reau agents received direct access to the mail, Moore replied : 

It is perhaps difficult to answer. Perhaps I could liken it 
to ... a defector in place in the KGB. You don't want to tell 
anybody his name, the location, the title, or anything like 
that. Not that you don't trust them completely, but the fact 

^ Helms, 10/23/75, pp. 28, 30-31. 

"^ Special Report, p. 29. Richard Helms testified as follows about this inaccu- 
rate statement : 

". . . the only explanation I have for it was that this applied entirely to the 
FBI and had nothing to do with the CIA, that we never advertised to this Com- 
mittee or told this Committee that this mail operation was going on, and there 
was no intention of attesting to a lie. ..." 

"And if I signed this thing, then maybe I didn't read it carefully enough." 

"There was no intention to mislead or lie to the President." (Helms, 10/22/75, 
Hearings Vol. 4, p. 95). 

^ Howard Osborn. 8/28/75, pp. 58, 59 ; Thomas Karamessines. 10/8/75, p. 12 ; 
Richard Helms, 9/10/75, p. 127. 

"^^ For example, Chief, Security Support Division memorandum, 12/24/74; 
Memorandum from C/TSD/CCG/CRB to the file, 3/26/69 ; memorandum from 
C/TSD/CCG/CRB to the file, 9/15/69. 

* Donald E. Moore, 10/1/75, p. 79. 

" Moore, 10/1/75, p. 31 ; Katzenbach, 12/3/75, Hearings, vol. 6, pp. 204, 205. 


is that any time one additional person becomes aware of it, 
there is a potential for the information to ... go further.*'- 

Another Bureau agent speculated that the Attorney General was 
not told because mail opening "was not legal, as far as I knew." "^^ 

Similarly, there is no indication that the FBI ever informed any 
Attorney General about its use of "black bag jobs" (illegal break-ins 
for purposes other than microphone installations) ; the full scope of 
its activities in COINTELPRO ; or its submission of names for inclu- 
sion on either the CIA's "Watch List" for mail opening or, before 1973, 
on the NSA's "Watch List" for electronic monitoring of international 

After J. Edgar Hoover disregarded Attorney General Biddle's 
19-13 order to terminate the Custodial Detention List by merely chang- 
ing its name to the Security Index moreover, Bureau headquarters 
instructed the field officers that the new list should be kept "strictly 
confidential" and that it should never be mentioned in FBI reports or 
"discussed with agencies or individuals outside the Bureau" except for 
military intelligence agencies. For several years thereafter, the Attor- 
ney General and the Justice Department were not informed of the 
FBI's decision. ^^ 

An incident which occurred in 1967 in connection with the Bureau's 
COINTELPRO operations is particularly illustrative of the lengths to 
which intelligence agencies would go to protect illegal programs from 
scrutiny by executive branch officers outside the intelligence com- 
munity. As one phase of its disruption of the United Klaus of America, 
the Bureau sent a letter to Klan officers purportedly prepared by the 
highly secret "National Intelligence Committee" (NIC) of the Klan.^'' 
The fake letter purported to fire the North Carolina Grand Dragon 
for personal misconduct and misfeasance in office, and to suspend 
Imperial Wizard Robert Shelton for his failure to remove the Grand 
Dragon. Shelton complained to the FBI and the Post Office about 
this apparent violation of the mail fraud statutes — without realizing 
that the Bureau had in fact sent the letter. ''' The Bureau, after 
solemnly assuring Shelton that his complaint was not within the 
FBI's jurisdiction, approached the Chief Postal Inspector's office in 
Washington to determine what action the Post Office planned to take 
regarding Shelton's allegation. The FBI was advised that the matter 
had been referred to the Justice Department's Criminal Division.*'^ 
At no time did the Bureau inform either the Post Office or the Justice 
Department that FBI agents had authored the letter. When no investi- 
gation was deemed to be warranted by the Criminal Division, FBI 
Headquarters directed the Bureau's Charlotte, North Carolina office 
to prepare a second phony NIC letter to send to Klan officials.*^^ This 

'' Moore 10/1/75, p. 48. See Mail Report : See. IV, "Nature and Value of the 
Product Received." 

"^ FBI agent testimony, 10/10/75, p. 30. 

" See NSA Report : Sec. II, "Summary of NSA Watch List Activity." 

*■'" Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to FBI Field Offices, 8/14/43. 

""Memorandum from Atlanta Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/7/67. 

"■ Memorandum from Birmingham Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/14/67. 

** Postal officials told Bureau liaison that since Shelton's allegations "api>ear 
to involve an internal struggle for control of Ku Klux Klan activities in North 
(^arolina and since the evidence of mail fraud was somewhat tenuous in nature, 
the Post Office did not contemplate any investigation." ( Memorandum from Spe- 
cial Agent to D. J. Brennan. 7/11/67.) Had the FBI informed the Post Office 
that Bureau agents had written the letter, it would have been apparent that 
Shelton's allegations were not based on an "internal struggle" within the KKK. 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Charlotte Field Office, 8/21/67. 


letter was not mailed, however, because the Charlotte office proposed 
and implemented a different idea — the formation of an FBI-controlled 
alternative Klan organization, which eventually attracted 250 

The Huston Plan itself was prepared without the knowledge of the 
Attorney General. Neither the Attorney General nor anyone in his 
office was invited to the drafting sessions at Langley or consulted dur- 
ing the proceedings. Huston testified that it never occurred to him 
to confer with the Attorney General before making the recommen- 
dations in the Report, in part because the plan was seen as an in- 
telligence matter to be handled by the intelligence agency directors.^^ 

Similarly, the CIA's General Counsel was not included or consulted 
in the formulation of the Huston Plan. As James Angleton testified, 
"the custom and usage was not to deal with the General Counsel, as a 
rule, until there were some troubles. He was not a part of the process 
of project approval." ''^ 

(ii) Concealinent from Congress 

At times, knowledge of illegal programs and techniques has been 
concealed from Congress as well as executive branch officials. On two 
occasions, for example, officials of the Anny Security Agency ordered 
its units — in apparent violation of that Agency's jurisdiction — to con- 
duct general searches of the radio spectrum without regard to the 
source or subject matter of the transmissions. ASA did not report these 
incidents to ranking Army officials, even when specifically asked to do 
so as part of the Army's preparation for the hearings of the Senate 
Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights in 1971.'* 

Events surrounding the 1965 and 1966 investigation by Senator Ed- 
ward Long of JNIissouri into federal agencies' use of mail covers and 
other investigative techniques clearly showed the desire on the part of 
CIA and FBI officials to protect their programs from congressional 
review.^5 Fearing that the New York mail opening i^rogram might be 
discoA^ered by this subcommittee, the CIA considered suspending the 
operation until the investigation had been completed. An internal 
CIA memorandum dated April 23, 1965, reads in part : 

Mr. Karamessines [Assistant Deputy Director for Plans] 
felt that the dangers inherent in Long's subcommittee activi- 

•" Memorandum from Charlotte Field Office to FBI Headquarters 8/22/67. 

'"■ Huston, 9/23/75. Hearings, Vol. 2, p. 24. 

When J. Edgar Hoover informed Attorney General John Mitchell about the 
Report on July 27, 1970, Mitchell objected to its proposals and influenced the 
President to withdraw his original approval. 

According to John Mitchell, he believed that the proposals "were inimical to 
the best interests of the country and certainly should not be something that the 
President of the United States should be approving." (John Mitchell testimony, 
10/24/75, Hearings, Vol. 4, p. 23.) 

■'^ James Angleton, 9/24/75, Hearings, Vol. 2, p. 77. 

''^ See Military Surveillance Report : Sec. I, "Improper Surveillance of Private 
Citizens by the Military" ; Inspector General Report, Department of the Army, 

" The Johnson Administration itself attempted to restrict the Long Subcom- 
mittee's investigation into national security matters, although there is no indica- 
tion that this attempt was motivated by a desire to protect illegal activities. 
(E.g., Memorandum from A. H. Belmont to Mr. Tolson. 2/27/65; memorandum 
from J. Edgar Hoover to Messrs. Tolson, Belmont, Gale, Rosen, Sullivan, and 
DeLoach, 3/2/65.) 


ties to the security of the Project's operations in New York 
should be thoroughly studied in order that a determination 
can be made as to whether these operations should be partially 
or fully suspended until the subcommittee's investigations are 

When it was learned that Chief Postal Ins])ector Henry Montague 
had been contacted about the Long investigation and believed that it 
would "soon cool off", however, it was decided to continue the opera- 
tion without suspension.^^ 

The FBI was also concerned that the subcommittee might expose its 
mail opening programs. Bureau memoranda indicate that the FBI in- 
tended to ''warn the Long Committee away from those areas which 
would be injurious to the national defense." "^ J. Edgar Hoover per- 
sonally contacted the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee,'" 
and urged him "to see Long not later than Wednesday morning to cau- 
tion him that [the Chief Counsel] must not go into the kind of ques- 
tion he made of Chief Inspector Montague of the Post Office Depart- 
ment" ®° — questioning that had threatened to reveal the FBI's mail 
project the previous week.®^ 

AtHien the Long subcommittee began to investigate electronic sur- 
veillance practices several months later, Bureau officials convinced 
Senator Edward Long that there was no need to pursue such an in- 
vestigation since, they said, the FBI's operations were tightly con- 
trolled and properly implemented.^^ According to Bureau documents, 
FBI agents wrote a press release for the Senator from Missouri, with 
his approval, that stated his subcommittee had 

conducted exhaustive research into the activities, procedures, 
and techniques of this agency [and] based upon careful study 
. . . we are fully satisfied that the FBI has not participated in 
highhanded or uncontrolled usage of wiretaps, microphones, 
or other electronic equipment.®^ 

Not only was this release written by the FBI itself, it was misleading. 
The "exhaustive research" apparently consisted of a ninety-minute 
briefing by FBI officials describing their electronic surveillance prac- 
tices; neither the Senator nor the public learned of the instances of 
improper electronic surveillances that had been conducted by the 
FBL^* ^Alien Senator Edward Long later asked certain FBI officials 
to testify about the Bureau's electronic surveillance policy before the 
Subcommittee, they refused, arguing : ". . . to put an FBI witness on the 

'" Blind memorandum from "CIA Officer," 4/23/65. 

" Ibid. 

^* Memorandum from A. H. Belmont to Mr. Tolson, 2/27/65. 

■^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Messrs. Tolson, Belmont, Gale, Rosen, 
Sullivan, and DeLoach, 3/1/65. 

*° Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Messrs. Tolson, Belmont, Gale, Rosen, 
Sullivan, and DeLoach 3/1/65. 

^^ Mail Report Part lY, Sec. VII, "Concern with Exposure." At the time of his 
testimony before the Long Subcommittee. Chief Postal Inspector Montague knew 
of ongoing FBI projects in which Bureau agents received custody of the mail, 
but he was apparently unaware that these projects involved mail openings. 

^- For example. Memorandum from C. D. DeLoach to Mr. Tolson, 1/10/66. 

^ Memorandum from M. A. Jones to Mr. Wick, Attachmen't, 1/11/66. 
^ See pp. 62-65, 105, 205-206 for a description of some of these improper 


stand would be an attempt to open a Pandora's box, insofar as our 

enemies in the press were concerned " ®^ 

After the press release had been delivered to Senator Long and 
the refusal to testify had been accepted, one FBI official wrote to the 
Associate Director that while some problems still existed, "we have 
neutralized the threat of being embarrassed by the Long Subcom- 
mittee . . ." ^® 

Suh-finding (/) 

The internal inspection mechanisms of the CIA and the FBI did 
not keep — and, in the case of the FBI, were not designed to keep — the 
activities of those agencies within legal bounds. Their primary concern 
was efficiency, not legality or propriety. 

The internal inspection mechanisms of the CIA and the FBI were 
ineffective in ensuring that the activities of these agencies were kept 
within legal bounds. This failure was sometimes due to structural 
deficiencies which kept knowledge of questionable programs tightly 
compai-tmented and shielded from those who could evaluate their 

As noted above, for example, the CIA's General Counsel was not 
informed about either the New York mail opening project or CIA's 
participation in the Huston Plan deliberations. The role of the CIA's 
General Counsel was essentially a passive one; he did not initiate 
inquiries but responded to requests from other Agency components. 
As James Angleton stated, the General Counsel was not a part of 
the normal project approval process and generally was not consulted 
until "something was going wrong." ^^ 

AVlien the General Counsel was consulted, he often exerted a posi- 
tive influence on the conduct of CIA activities. For example, the CIA 
stopped monitoring telephone calls to and from Latin America after 
the General Counsel issued an opinion describing the telephone inter- 
cepts as illegal.®^ But internal CIA regulations have never required 
employees who know of illegal, improper, or questionable activities 
to report them to the General Counsel; rather, employes with such 
knoAvledge are instructed to inform either the Director of Central 
Intelligence or the Inspector General. The Director and the Inspector 
General may refer the matter to the General Counsel but until recently 
they were not obligated to do so.^®^ As Richard Helms stated, "Some- 
times we did [consult the General Counsel] ; sometimes we did not. I 
think the record on that is rather spotty, quite frankly." ^^ 

Indeed, the record suggests that those programs that were most 
questionable — such as the New York mail opening project and Project 
CHAOS — were not referred to the General Counsel because they were 

^ Memorandum from C. D. DeLoaeh to Mr. Tolson, 1/21/66. 

^ DeLoaeh memorandum, 1/21/66. This incident also illustrates that Congress 
has at times permitted itself to be "neutralized." The general reluctance of 
Congress to discharge its responsibilities toward intelligence agencies is dis- 
cussed at pp. 277-281. 

" James Angleton. 9/17/75. p. 48. 

^' Memorandum from Lawrence Houston to Acting Chief, Division D, 1/29/73. 

***" Proposed regulations drafted in response to Executive Order 11905 ( March 
1976) require the Inspector General to refer "all legal matters" to the Office of 
General Counsel. (Draft Reg. HR 1-3.) 

"' Helms deposition, 9/10/75, p. 59. 


considered extremely sensitive.^" Even when questionable activities 
were called to the attention of the General Counsel, moreover, the in- 
ternal Agency regulations did not guarantee him unrestricted access 
to all relevant information. Thus, the General Counsel was not in a 
position to conduct a complete evaluation of the propriety of par- 
ticular programs. 

Part of the failure of internal inspection to terminate improper pro- 
grams and practices may be attributed to the fact that the primary 
focus of the CIA'S Office of the Inspector General and the FBI's In- 
spection Division has been on efficiency and effectiveness rather than 
on propriety. 

The CIA's Inspector General is charged with the responsibility, 
among other matters, of inxestigating activities which might be con- 
strued as "illegal, improper, and outside the CIA's legislative 
charter."' ^^ In at least one case, the Inspector General did force the 
suspension of a suspect, activity: the surreptitious administration of 
LSD to unwitting, non- volunteer, human subjects which was sus- 
pended in 1963.^2 An earlier Inspector General's review of the larger, 
more general program for the testing of behavorial control agents, 
however, had labeled that program "unethical and illegal" and it none- 
theless continued for another seven years.^^ In general, as the Rocke- 
feller Connnission pointed out, "the focus of the Inspector General 
component reviews was on operational effectiveness. Examination of 
the legality or propriety of CIA activities was not normally a primary 
concern." ^^ Two separate reviews of the Xew York mail opening proj- 
ects by the Inspector General's office, for example, considered issues 
of administration and security at length but did not even mention 
legal considerations.^^ 

Internal inspection at the FBI has traditionally not encompassed 
legal or ethical questions at all. According to W. Mark Felt, the As- 
sistant FBI Direci.'or in charge of the Inspection Division from 1964 to 
1971, his job was to ensure that Bureau pi-ogranis were being operated 
efficiently, not constitutionally: "There was no instruction to me," he 
stated, "nor do I believe there is any instruction in the Inspector's 
manuals, that inspectors should be on the alert to see that constitu- 
tional values are being protected." ^^ He could not recall any program 
which was terminated because it might have been violating someone's 
civil rights.^^ 

'"Gordon Stewart deposition, 4/30/75, p. 29; Rockeller Commission Report, 
p. 146 ; Report on tlie OflSces of tlie General Counsel and Inspector General : The 
General Counsel's Responsibilities, 9/30/75, p. 29. 

"' Regulation HR 7-la (6) . 

"^ Memorandum for the Record by J. S. Earman, Inspector General, 11/29/63 ; 
Memorandum from Helms to DCI, 11/9/64. 

*" 1957 I.G. Inspection of the Technical Services Division. 

^ Rockefeller Commission Report, 6/6/75, p. 89. 

*" :Memorandum from L. K. White, Deputy Director for Supiwrt, to Acting In- 
spector General. Attachment, 3/9/62; blind memorandum, undated (1969). The 
Inspector General under whose auspices the -second review was conducted stated 
"[0]f course we knew that this was illegal." but he believed that it was "un- 
necessary" to raise the matter of its illegality with Director Helms "since every- 
body knew that it was [illegal] and it didn't seem . . . that I would be telling 
Mr. Helms anything that he didn't know." (Gordon Stewart, 9/30/75, p. 32.) 
p. 32. ) 

°' W. Mark Felt testimony, 2/3/75, p. 65. 

*' Felt, 2/3/75, p. 57. 


A number of quesitionable FBI pix)grams were apparently never in- 
spected. Felt could recall no inspection, for instance, of either the FBI 
mail opening programs or the Bureau's participation in the CIA's 
New York mail opening project.^^ Even when improper programs 
were inspected, the Inspection Division did not attempt to exercise 
oversight in the sense of looking for wrongdoing. Its responsibility 
was simply to ensure that FBI policy, as defined by J. Edgar Hoover 
was effectively implemented and not to question the propriety of the 
policy.^" Thus, Felt testified that if, in the course of an inspection of a 
field office, he discovered a microphone surveillance on Martin Luther 
King, Jr., the only questions he would ask were whether it had been 
appix)ved by the Director and whether the procedures had been prop- 
erly followed.^°° 

When Felt was asked whether the Inspection Division con- 
ducted any investigation into the propriety of COINTELPRO, the 
following exchange ensued : 

Mr. Felt. Not into the propriety. 

Q. So in the case of COINTELPRO, as in the case of 
NSA interceptions, your job as Inspector was to determine 
whether the program was being pursued effectively as op- 
posed to whether it was proper ? 

Mr. Felt. Rig'ht, with this exception, that in any of these 
situations, Counterintelligence Program or whatever, it very 
frequently happened that the inspectors, in reviewing the 
files, would direct that a certain investigation be discontinued, 
that iit was not productive, or that there was some reason that 
it be discontinued. 

But I don't recall any cases being discontinued in the 
Counterintelligence program. ^"^ 

As a result of this role definition, the Inspection Division became an 
active participant in some of the most questionable FBI programs For 
example, it was responsible for reviewing on an annual basis all memo- 
randa relating to illegal break-ins prior to their destiiiction mider the 
"DO NOT FILE" procedure. 

Imprx>per programs and techniques in the FBI were protected not 
only by the Inspection Division's percepitdon of its function, but also 
by the maxim that FBI agents should never "embarrass the Bureau." 
This standard, which served as a shield to outside scrutiny, was 
explicitly reflected in the FBI Manual : 

Any investigation necessary to develop complete essential 
facts regarding any allegation against Bureau employees 
must be instituted promptly, and every logical lead which 
will establish the true facts should be completely I'un out 
unless such actio7i would eTuban^ass the Bureau . . , in which 
event the Bureau will weigh the facts, along with the recom- 
mendations of the division head. [Emphasis added.] ^"^ 

"« Felt, 2/3/75, pp. 54, 55. 

■^ Felt, 2/3/75, pp. 59-60. 

'~ Felt, 2/3/75, p. 60. 

^"^ Felt, 2/3/75, pp. 56, 57. 

^"^ When, asked about this Manual provision. Attorney General Edward Levi 
stated : 

"I do believe . . . some further explanation is in order. First, the Bureau in- 
forms me that the provision has not been intei-preted to mean that an investiga- 


Such an instruction, coupled with the Inspection Division's inatten- 
tion to the hiw, could only inhibit or prevent the termination and ex- 
posure of illegal practices. 

Sub finding (g) 

AVhen senior administration officials with a duty to control domestic 
intelligence activities knew, or had a basis for suspecting, that ques- 
tionable activities had occurred, they often responded w^ith silence or 
approval. In certain cases, they Avere presented with a partial descrip- 
tion of a program but did not ask for details, thereby abdicating their 
responsibility. In other cases, they were fully aware of the nature of 
the practice and implicitly or explicitly approved it. 

On several occasions, senior administration officials with a duty to 
control domestic intelligence activities were supplied with partial 
details about questionable or illegal programs but they did not ask 
for additional information and the programs continued. 

Sometimes the failure to probe further stemmed from the admin- 
istration official's assumption that an intelligence agency would not 
engage in lawless conduct. Former Chief Postal Inspector Henry 
Montague, for example, was aware that the FBI received custody 
of the mail in connection with several of its mail opening programs — 
indeed, he had approved such custody in one case — but he testified 
that he believed these were mail cover operations only."^ Montague 
stated that he did not ask FBI officials if the Bureau opened mail 
because he : 

never thought that would be necessary. ... I trusted them 
the same as I would another [Postal] Inspector. I would 
never feel that I would have to tell a Postal person that you 
cannot open mail. By the same token, I would not consider 
it necessary to emphasize it to any great degree with the 


A former FBI official has also testified, as noted above, that he 
informed Attorney General Katzenbach about selected aspects of the 
FBI mail opening programs. This official did not tell Katzenbach 
that mail was actually opened, but he testified that he "pointed out 
[to the Attorney General] that we do receive mail from the Post 
Office in certain sensitive areas." "^ While Katzenbach stated that he 
never knew mail was opened or that the FBI gained access to mail 
on a regular basis in large-scale operations,^°^ the former Attorney 

tion should not take place and that 'any interpretation that an investigation 
would not be instituted because of the possibility of embarrassment to the Bureau 
was never intended and, in fact, has never been the policy of this Bureau.' I am 
told that 'what was intended to be conveyed was that in such eventuality FBI 
Headquarters desired to be advised of the matter before investigation is in- 
stituted so that Headquarters would be on notice and could direct the inquiry, 
if necessary.' " 

"Second, the manual provision dates back to March 30, 1955." 

"Third, I am informed by the Bureau that 'immediate steps are being taken to 
remove that phraseology from our Manual of Rules and Regulations.' " 

(Letter from Attorney General Levi to Senator Richard Schweiker, 11/10/75.) 

'■^ Henry Montague testimony, 10/2/75, pp. 55, 71. 

'« Henry Montague, 10/2/75, pp. 15-16. 

'°° Donald Moore, 10/1/75, p. 31. 

"^ Nicholas Katzenbach. 10/11/75, p. 35. 


General acknowledged that he did learn that "in some cases the out- 
side of mail might have been examined or even photographed by 
persons other than Post Office employees"."' However, neither at this 
time nor at any other time did the Justice Department make any 
inquiry to determine the full scope of the FBI mail operations. 

Similarly, former Attorneys General Nicholas Katzenbach and Kam- 
sey Clark testified that they w^ere familiar with the FBI's efforts to 
disrupt the Ku Klux Klan through regular investigative techniques 
but said they were unaware of the offensive tactics that occurred 
in COINTELPRO. Katzenbach said he did not believe it neces- 
sary to explore possible irregularities since "[i]t never occurred to 
me that the Bureau would engage in the sort of sustained improper 
activity which it apparently did." "® 

Both Robert Kennedy and Nicholas Katzenbach were also aware of 
some aspects of the FBI's investigation of Dr. Martin Luther King, 
Jr., yet neither ascertained the full details of the Bureau's campaign to 
discredit the civil rights leader. Kennedy intensified the original "com- 
munist influence" investigation in October 1963 by authorizing wire- 
taps on King's home and office telephones."^ Kennedy requested that 
an evaluation of the results be submitted to him in thirty days in 
order to determine whether or not to maintain the taps, but the evalua- 
tion was never delivered to him and he did not insist on it."° Since 
he never ordered the termination of the wiretap, the Bureau could, 
and did, install additional wiretaps on King by invoking the original 
authorization."^ According to Bureau memoranda apparently ini- 
tialled by Attorney General Katzenbach, Katzenbach received after 
the fact notification in 1965 that three bugs had been planted in 
Dr. King's hotel rooms."^ A transmittal memorandum written by 

^'" Katzenbach statemenit^ 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 205. 

^°^ Katzenbach testimony, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 207 ; Ramsey Clark, 
12/3/75 ; Hearings, Vol. 6 p. 235 ; Katzenbach's and Clark's knowledge of disrup- 
tive operations is discussed at greater length in Finding G : "Deficiences in Con- 
trol and Accountability" p. 265. 

^°® Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 10/7/63; 
memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General. 10/18/63. 

""Memorandum from C. A. Evans to Mr. Belmont 10/21/63. 

In May 1961, Robert Kennedy also became aware of the CIA's use of organized 
crime figures in connection with "clandestine efforts" against the Cuban govern- 
ment. (Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 5/22/61.) 
But he did not instruct the CIA to terminate its involvement with underworld 
figures either at that time or in May 1962, when he learned at a briefing by CIA 
ofiicials that an assassination attempt had occurred. According to the CIA's Gen- 
eral Coimsel, who participated in the 1962 briefing, Kennedy only said, ". . . if we 
were going to get involved with Mafia personnel again he wanted to be informed 
first." (Lawrence Houston deposition, 6/2/75, p. 14.) 

The CIA's use of underworld figures clearly posed problems for the FBI's on- 
going investigation of organized crime in the United States, which had in large 
part been initiated by Attorney General Kennedy himself. (Senate Select Com- 
mittee, "Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders," pp. 125-129.) 

"' The FBI instituted additional wiretaps on King on four separate occasions 
between 1964 and 1965. Since Justice Department policy before March 1965 
imposed no limit on the duration of wiretaps and they were approved by the 
Attorney General, the Bureau claimed that the King taps were justified as a con- 
tinuation of the tap originally authorized by Kennedy in October 1963. (For ex- 
ample, memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Atlanta Field Office. 4/19/65 : 
Martin Luther King Report : Sec. IC, "Wiret-ap Surveillance of Dr. King and the 

"" Katzenbach's initials appear on memoranda addressed to the Attorney Gen- 
eral advising him of these bugs, but he cannot recall seeing or initialing them. 


Katzenbach also indicates that he may have instructed the FBI to 
be "very cautious" in conducting these surveillances."^ There is no 
indication, however, that he requested further details about any of 
them or prohibited the FBI from future use of this technique against 
Dr. King. 

While there is no evidence that the full extent of the FBI's campaign 
to discredit Dr. King was authorized by or known to anyone outside 
of the Bureau, there is evidence that officials responsible for supervis- 
ing the FBI received indications that some such efforts were being 
undertaken. For example, former Attorney General Katzenbach and 
former Assistant Attorney General Burke Marshall both testified 
that in late 1964 they learned that the Bureau had offered tape record- 
ings of Dr. King to certain newsmen in Washington, D.C. They fur- 
ther stated that they informed President Johnson of the FBI's 
offers."* The Committee has discovered no evidence, however, that the 
President or Justice Depai'tment officials made any further effort to 
halt the discrediting campaign at this time or at any other time; in- 
deed, the Bureau's campaign continued for several years after this 

On some occasions, administration officials did not request further 
details about intelligence programs because they simply did not want 
to know. Former Postmaster General J. Edward Day testified that 
when Allen Dulles and Richard Helms spoke to him about a CIA 
project in 1961, he interrupted them before they could tell him the 
purpose of their visit (which Helms said was to say mail was being- 
opened). Day stated : 

. . . Mr. Dulles, after some preliminary visiting and so on, 
said that he wanted to tell me something very secret, and I 
said, "Do I have to know about it ?"' And he said, "No.'' 

I said, "My experience is that where there is something that 
is very secret, it is likely to leak out, and anybody that knew 
about it is likely to be suspected of having been part of leak- 
ing it out, so I would rather not know anything about it." 

What additional things were said in connection with him 
building up to that, I don't know. But I am sure . . . that I 
was not told anything about opening mail." "^ 

By his ow^n account, therefore, Mr. Day did not learn the true nature 
of this project because he "would rather not know anything about it." 
Although rarely expressed in such unequivocal terms, this attitude 
appears to have been all too common among senior government 

(Memoranda from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 5/17/65, 10/19/65, 
12/1/65: Katzenbach, 12/1/75. Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 211, p. 46.) He stated, how- 
ever, that if he had read these dociiments, he would have "done somethmg about 
it." (Katzenbach, Hearings, Vol. 6. p. 230.) 

"' xV transmittal slip, which the FBI claims had been attached to the 12/1/65 
memorandum, notes that "these are particularly delicate surveillances" and 
that "we should be very cautious in terms of the non-FBI people who may from 
time to time necessarily be involved in some aspect of installation." (Memo- 
randiun from Xichola.s Katzenbach to .T. Edgar Hoover, 12/10/65.) This mes- 
sage is signed by Katzenbach, but he testified that he is unsure it related to 
the King surveillances. (Katzenbach, 12/3/75. Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 229.) 

"' Katzenbach, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 210 ; Burke Marshall testimony, 
3/3/76, pp. 39-43. 

'" J. Edward Day testimony, 10/22/75, Hearings, Vol. 4. p. 45. 


Even when administration officials were fully apprised of the illegal 
or questionable nature of certain programs and techniques, they some- 
times permitted them to continue. An example of acquiescence is pre- 
sented in the case of William Cotter, a former Chief Postal Inspector 
who knew that the CIA opened mail in connection with its New York 
project but took no direct action to terminate the project for a period 
of four years. ^^^ Cotter had learned of this project in his capacity as a 
CIA official in the mid-1950's and he knew that it was continuing when 
he was sworn in as Chief Postal Inspector in April 1969.^^^ Be- 
cause the primary responsibility of his position was to insure the 
sanctity of the mails, he was understandably "very, very uncomfort- 
able with [knowledge of the New York] project," ^^^ but he felt con- 
strained by the letter and spirit of the secrecy oath which he had signed 
when he left the CIA in 1969 "attesting to the fact that I vrould not 
divulge secret information that came into my possession during the 
time that I was with the CIA." ^^^ Cotter stated : "After coming from 
eighteen years in the CIA, I was hypersensitive, perhaps, to the pro- 
tection of what I believed to be a most sensitive project . . ." ^-° For 
several years, he placed the dictate of the secrecy oath above that of 
the law he was charged with enforcing. 

Former White House adviser John Ehrlichman also stated that he 
learned of a program of intercepting mail between the United States 
and Communist countries "because I had seen reports that cited those 
kinds of sources in connection with this, the bombings, the dissident 
activities." ^^^ Yet he cannot recall any White House inquiry that was 
made into such a program nor can he recall raising the matter with the 

When President Nixon learned of the illegal techniques that were 
recommended in the Huston Plan, he initially endorsed, rather than 
disavowed them. The former President stated that "[t]o the extent 
that I reviewed the Special Report of Interagency Committee on In- 
telligence, I would have been informed that certain recommendations 
or decisions set forth in that report were, or might be construed to be, 
illegal." ^"^ He nonetheless approved them, in part because they repre- 
sented an efficient method of intelligence collection. As President Nixon 
explained, "[M]y approval was based largely on the fact that the pro- 
cedures were consistent with those employed by prior administrations 
and had been found to be effective by the intelligence agencies." ^^^ 

Mr. Nixon also apparently relied on the theory that a "sovereign" 
President can authorize the violation of criminal laws in the name of 
"national security" when the President, in his sole discretion, deems it 
appropriate. He recently stated : 

"' In 1973, however, Mr. Cotter was instrumental in effecting the termination 
of the CIA's New York project. ( Cotter, 8/7/75, p. 45. ) 

'" Cotter, 8/7/75, p. 45. 

"* Ibid. 

"' Cotter 10/22/75, Hearings, Vol. 4, p. 74. 

^-° Ibid. 

^^^ John Erlichman testimony. President's Commission on CIA Activities 
Within the United States, 4/17/75, p. 98. 

^^ Erlichman testimony. President's Commission on CIA Activities Within the 
United States, 4/17/75, p. 98. 

^ Answer of Richard M. Nixon to Senate Select Committee Interrogatory 23, 
3/9/76, p. 13. 

"* Answer of Richard M. Nixon to Senate Select Committee Interrogatory 19, 
3/9/76, p. 13. 


It is quite obvious that there are certain inherently govern- 
mental actions which if undertaken by the sovereign in protec- 
tion of the interest of the nation's security are lawful but 
which if undertaken by private persons are not. . . . 

. . . [I]t is naive to attempt to categorize activities a Presi- 
dent might authorize as "legal" or "illegar" without refer- 
ence to the circumstances under which he concludes that the 
activity is necessary. . . . 

In short, there have been — and will be in the future — cir- 
cumstances in which Presidents may lawfully authorize ac- 
tions in the interests of the security of this country, which if 
undertaken by other persons, or even by the President under 
different circumstances, would be illegal. ^^^ 

As the former President described this doctrine, it could apply not 
only to actions taken openly, which are subject to later challenge by 
Congress and the courts, but also to actions such as those recommended 
in the Huston Plan, which are covertly endorsed and implemented. 
The dangers inherent in this theory are clear, for it permits a Presi- 
dent to create exceptions to normal legal restraints and prohibitions, 
without review by a neutral authority and without objective stand- 
ards to guide him.^^^ The Huston Plan itself serves as a reminder of 
these dangers. 

Significantly, President Nixon's revocation of approval for the 
Huston Plan was based on the possibility of "media criticism" if the 
use of these techniques was revealed. The former President stated : 

Mr. Mitchell informed me that it was Director Hoover's opin- 
ion that initiating a program which would permit several 
government intelligence agencies to utilize the investigative 
techniques outlined in the Committee's report- would signifi- 
cantly increase the possibility of their public disclosure. Mr. 
Mitchell explained to me that Mr. Hoover believed that al- 
though each of the intelligence gathering methods outlined in 
the Committee's recommendations had been utilized by one or 
more previous Administrations, their sensitivity would likely 
generate media criticism if they were employed. Mr. Mitchell 
further informed me that it was his opinion that the risk of 
disclosure of the possible illegal actions, such as unauthorized 
entry into foreign embassies to install a microphone transmit- 
ter, w^as greater than the possible benefit to be derived. Based 
upon this conversation with Attorney General Mitchell, I de- 
cided to revoke the approval originally extended to the Com- 
mittee's recommendations.^^^ 

In more than one instance, administration officials outside the in- 
telligence community have specifically requested intelligence agencies 
to undertake questionable actions. NSA's program of monitoring tele- 
phonic conmiunications between New^ York City and a city in South 
America, for example, was undertaken at the specific request of the 
Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, a law enforcement agency, 

^^ Answer of Richard M. Nixon to Senate Select Committee Interrogatory 34, 
3/9/76, pp. 16-17. 

^ President Ford has recently rejected this doctrine of Presidential power. 

^" Answer of Richard M. Nixon to Senate Select Committee Interrogatory 17, 
3/9/76, pp. 11-12. 

68-786 O - 76 - 12 


BNDD officials had been concerned abont drug deals that were appar- 
ently arranged in calls from public telephones in New York to South 
America, but they felt that they could not legally wiretap these tele- 
phone booths.^^^ in order to avoid tapping a limited number of phones 
in New York, BNDD submitted the names of 450 American citizens 
for inclusion in NSA's Watch List, and requested NSA to monitor a 
communications link between New York and South America Avhich 
necessitated the interception of thousands of international telephone 

The legal limitations on domestic wiretapping apparently did not 
concern certain officials in the "White House or Attorneys General who 
requested the FBI to do their bidding. In some instances, they specif- 
ically requested the FBI to institute wiretaps on American citizens 
with no substantial national security predicate for doing so."*' 

On occasion, Attorneys General have also encouraged the FBI to 
circumvent the will of both Congress and the Supreme Court. As noted 
above, after Congress passed the Emergency Detention Act of 1950 to 
regulate the FBI program for listing people to be detained in case of 
war or other emergency. Justice Department officials concluded that 
its procedural safeguards and substantive standards were "unwork- 
able". Attorney General J. Howard McGrath instnicted the FBI to 
disregard the statute and "proceed with the [Security Index] program 
as previously outlined." "^ Two subsequent Attorneys General — James 
McGranery and Herbert Brownell — endorsed the decision to ignore 
the Emergency Detention Act.^^^ 

In 1954, the Supreme Court denounced the use of microphone sur- 
veillances by local police in criminal cases ; ^^^ the fact that a micro- 
phone had been installed in a defendant's bedroom particularly out- 
raged the court. Within weeks of this decision, however. Attorney 
General Herbert Brownell reversed the existing Justice Department 
policy prohibiting trespassory microphone installations by the FBI, 
and p-ave the Bureau sweeping new authority to engage in bugging for 
intelligence purposes — even when it meant planting microphones in 
bedrooms.^^* Brownell wrote J. Edgar Hoover : 

Obviously, the installation of a microphone in a bedroom or 
in some comparably intimate location should be avoided 
whenever possible. It may appear, however, that important 
intelligence or evidence relating to matters connected with the 
national security can only be obtained by the installation of a 
microphone in such a location. . . . 

... I recognize that for the FBI to fulfill its important in- 
telligence function, considerations of internal security and the 
national safety are paramount and, therefore, may compel the 
unrestricted use of this technique in the national interest.^^^ 

"' Milton Iredell, 9/18/75, p. 99. 

^° Memorandum from IngersoU to Gayler, 4/10/70. 

^^ See Findings, "Political Abuse" and "Intrusive Techniques" for examples. 

^^ Memorandum from A. H. Belmont to D. M. Ladd, 10/15/52. 

"^ Memorandum from Attorney General James McGranery to J. Edgar Hoover. 
11/25/52 : memorandum from Attorney General Herbert Brownell to J. Edgar 
Hoover, 4/27/53. 

^^^ Irvine v. California, 347 U.S. 128 (1954). 

'^ Memorandum from the Attorney General to the Director, FBI, 5/20/54. 

""Memorandum from the Attorney General to the Director, FBI, 5/20/54. 


Brownell did not even require the Bureau to seek the Attorney Gen- 
eral's prior approval for microphone installations in particular 
cases.^^*^ In the face of the Irvine decision, therefore, he gave the FBI 
authority to bug whomever it wished wherever it wished in cases that 
the Bureau — and not the Attorney General — determined were "in the 
national interest." 

In short, disregard of the law by intelligence officers was seldom 
corrected, and sometimes encouraged or facilitated, by officials out- 
side the agencies. "Whether by inaction or direct participation, these 
administration officials contributed to the perception that legal re- 
straints did not apply to intelligence activities. 

'^ Ibid. 



Major Finding 

The Committee finds that domestic intelligence activity has been 
overbroad in that (1) many Americans and domestic groups have been 
subjected to investigation who were not suspected of criminal activity 
and (2) the intelligence agencies have regularly collected information 
about personal and political activities irrelevant to any legitimate gov- 
ernmental interest. 


(a) Large numbers of law-abiding Americans and lawful domestic 
groups have been subjected to extensive intelligence investigation and 

(b) The absence of precise standards for intelligence investigations 
of Americans contributed to overbreadth. Congress did not enact stat- 
utes precisely delineating the authority of the intelligence agencies or 
defining the" purpose and scope of domestic intelligence acti^-ity. The 
executive branch abandoned the standard set by Attorney General 
Stone — that the government's concern was not with political opinions 
but with "such conduct as is forbidden by the laws of the United 
States." Intelligence agencies' superiors issued over-inclusive direc- 
tives to investigate "subversion" (a term that was never defined in 
presidential directives) and "potential" rather than actual or likely 
criminal conduct, as well as to collect general intelligence on law- 
ful political and social dissent. 

(c) The intelligence agencies themselves used imprecise and over- 
inclusive criteria in their conduct of intelligence investigations. Intel- 
ligence investigations extended beyond "subversive'' or violent targets 
to additional groups and individuals subiect to minimal "subversive 
influence" or having little or no "potentiar" for violence. 

(d) Intelligence agencies pursued a "vacuum cleaner" approach to 
intelligence collection — drawing in all available information about 
groups and individuals, including their lawful political activity and 
details of their personal lives. 

(e) Intelligence investigations in many cases continued for exces- 
sively long periods of time, resulting in sustained gOA-ernmental moni- 
toring of political activity in the absence of any indication of criminal 
conduct or "subversion." 

Elahoration of Findings 

The central problem posed by domestic intelligence activity has been 
its departure from the standards of the law. This departure from law 
has meant not only the violation of constitutional prohibitions and 
explicit statutes, but also the adoption of criteria unrelated to the law 
as the basis for extensive investigations of Americans. 



In 1917-192-i, the federal government, often assisted by the private 
vigilante American Protective League, conducted sweeping investiga- 
tions of dissenters, war i^rotesters, labor organizers, and alleged "'anar- 
chists-' and '"revolutionaries." These investigations led to mass "arrests 
of thousands of persons in the 1920 '"Palmer raids.*' Reacting to these 
and other abuses of investigative power, Attorney General Harlan 
Fiske Stone in 1924 confined the Bureau of Investigation in the Jus- 
tice Department to the investigation of federal crimes. Attorney Gen- 
eral Stone articulated a clear and workable standard : 

The Bureau of Investigation is not concerned with political 
or other opinions of individuals. It is concerned only with 
their conduct and then only such conduct as is forbidden by 
the laws of the United States.^ 

Nevertheless, his restriction lasted for little more than a decade. 

In the micl-1930s the FBI resumed domestic intelligence functions, 
carrying out President Roosevelt's vague order to investigate "sub- 
versive activities." The President and the Attorney General author- 
ized FBI and military intelligence investigations of conduct explicitly 
recognized as '"not within the specific provisions of prevailing stat- 
utes." As a result, ideas and associations, rather than suspicion of 
criminal offenses, once again became the focus of federal investigations. 

The scope of domestic intelligence investigations consistently wid- 
ened in the decades after the 1930s, reaching its greatest extent in the 
late 1960s and early 1970s. 

Domestic intelligence investigations were permitted under criteria 
which more nearly resembled political or social labels than standards 
for governmental action. Rather than Attorne}' General Stone's stand- 
ard of investigating "only such conduct as is forbidden by the laws of 
the United States," domestic intelligence used such labels as the fol- 
lowing to target intelligence investigations : 

— "rightist" or "extremist'' groups in the "anticommunist 

— persons with "anarchistic or revolutionary beliefs" or 
who were "espousing the line of revolutionary movements" 

— "general racial matters" 

— "hate organizations'' 

— "rabble rousers" 

— "key activists" 

— "black nationalists" 

— "white supremacists" 

— "agitators" 

— "kej- black extremists" 

These broad and imprecise labels reflect the ill-defined mission of 
domestic intelligence, which resulted from recurring demands for 
progressively wider investigations of Americans. Without the firm 

^ New York Times, 5/10/24. Attorney General Stone implemented this policy by 
issuing a directive to Acting Director J. Edgar Hoover of the Bureau of Inves- 
tigation : "The activities of the Bureau are to be limited strictly to investigations 
of violations of law. under my direction or under the direction of an Assistant 
Attorney General regularly conducting the work of the Department of .Justice. " 
(Memorandum from Attorney General Stone to J. Edgar Hoover, n/13/24. cited 
in Alpheus Thomas Mason. Harlan Fiske Stone: Pillar of the Law [New York: 
Viking Press, 1956), p. 151.] 


guidance provided by law, intelligence activities intruded into areas 
of American life which are protected from governmental inquiry by 
the constitutional guarantees of personal privacy and free speech and 

Subfinding {a) 

Large numbers of law-abiding Americans and lawful domestic 
groups have been subjected to extensive intelligence investigation and 

Some domestic intelligence activity has focused on specific illegal 
conduct or on instances where there was tangible evidence that illegal 
conduct was likely to occur. But domestic intelligence has gone far 
beyond such matters in collecting massive amounts of data on Amer- 
icans. For example : 

FBI Domestic Intelligence. — The FBI has compiled at its head- 
quarters over 480,000 files on its "subversion'' investigations and over 
33,000 files on its "extremism'' investigations.- During the twenty 
years from 1955 to 1975, the FBI conducted 710,000 investigations of 
"subversive matters" and 190,000 investigatioiis of "extremist mat- 
ters." ^ The targets for FBI intelligence collection have included : 

— the Women's Liberation Movement ; 

— the conservative Christian Front and Christian Mobiliz- 
ers of Father Couglilin ; 

— the conservative American Christian Action Council of 
Rev. Carl Mclntyre ; 

— a wide variety of university, church and political groups 
opposed to the Vietnam war ; 

— those in the non-violent civil rights movement, such as 
Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Coun- 
cil, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored 
People (NAACP), and the Council on Racial Equality 

ArTYiy Surveill'ttnce of Civilians. — The Army's nationwide intel- 
ligence surveillance program created files on some 100,000 Americans 
and an equally large number of domestic organizations, encompassing 
virtually every group seeking peaceful change in the LTnited States 
including : 

— the John Birch Society ; 

— Young Americans for Freedom ; 

— the National Organization of Women ; 

—the NAACP; 

— the Urban League ; 

— ^the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'irth ; and 

Business Executives to End the War in Vietnam.* 

CIA's CHAOS Progrmn.— The CIA's extensive CHAOS pro- 
gram — which compiled intelligence on domestic groups and individ- 
uals protesting the Vietnam war and racial conditions — amassed some 

^ Memorandum from FBI to Select Committee, 10/6/75. 

^ Memorandum from FBI to Select Committee, Re : Investigative Matters, re- 
ceived 11/12/75. These statistics include as separate "matters" investigative 
leads pursued by different FBI oflBces in the same case. 

* Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Con.stitutional Rights, "Federal Data 
Banks, Computers, and Bill of Rights," 1971, p. 264. 


10,000 intelligence files on American citizens and groups and indexed 
300,000 names of Americans in CIA computer records.^ 

IB/S Selective Tax I nv est t gat ions of Dissenters. — Between 1969 and 
1973, the Internal Revenue Service, through a secret "Special Service 
Staff" (SSS), targeted more than 10,000 individuals and groups for 
tax examinations because of their political activity.*' The FBI and the 
Internal Security Division of the Justice Department gave SSS lists 
of taxpayers deemed to be "activists'' or "ideological organizations;" 
the FBI, in providing SSS with a list of over 2,000 groups and in- 
dividuals classified as "Right Wing," "New Left," and "Old Left," 
expressed its hope that SSS tax examinations would "deal a blow to 
dissident elements." '' A smaller though more intensive selective en- 
forcement program, the "Ideological Organization Project," was es- 
tablished in November 1961 in response to White House criticism of 
"right-wing extremist" groups.* On the basis of such political criteria, 
18 organizations were selected for special audit although there was no 
evidence of tax violation.^ In 1964, the IRS proposed to expand its 
program to make "10,000 examinations of [tax] exempt organizations 
of all types including the extremist groups." ^° Although this program 
never fully materialized, the "Ideological Organizations Project" can 
be viewed as a precursor to SSS. 

CIA and FBI Mail Opening. — The 12 mail opening programs con- 
ducted by the CIA and FBI between 1940 and 1973 resulted in the 
illegal opening of hundreds of thousands of first-class letters. In the 
1960s and early 1970s, the international correspondence of large num- 
bers of Americans who challenged the condition of racial minorities 
or who opposed the war in Vietnam was specifically targeted for mail 
opening by both the CIA and FBI. 

The overbreadth of the longest CIA mail opening program — the 20 
year (1953-1973) program in New York City — is shown by the fact 
that of the more than 28 million letters screened by the CIA, the ex- 
teriors of 2.7 million were photographed and 214,820 letters were 
opened. ^^ This is further shown by the fact that American groups 
and individuals placed on the Watch List for the project included : 

— The Federation of American Scientists ; 

— authors such as John Steinbeck and Edward Albee; 

— numerous American peace groups such as the American 
Friends Service Committee and Women's Strike for Peace; 

— businesses, such as Praeger Publishers. ^^ 

By one CIA estimate, random selection accounted for 75 percent of 
the 200,000 letters opened, including letters to or from American 
political figures, such as Richard Nixon, while a presidential candidate 
in 1968, and Senators Frank Church and Edward Kennedy.^^ 

^ See CHAOS Report : Sec. II D, "Operation of the CHAOS Program and Re- 
lated CIA Projects." 

"See IRS Report: Part II, Sec. II, "Special Service Staff." 

' Memorandum from D. J. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 8/15/69. 

* Memorandum from William Loeb to Dean Barron, 11/30/61. 

* Memorandum from Mitchell Rogovin to Dean Barron, 12/20/61. 
"Memorandum from Commissioner, IRS to Myer Feldman, 7/11/63. 

" See Mail Report : Part I, "Domestic CIA and FBI Mail Opening Programs." 
"See Mail Report: Part II, Sec. II B(l), "Selection Criteria." 
"See Mail Report: Part II, Sec. II B(l), "Selection Criteria." 


NjSA's Watch List and SHAMROCK Programs.— Th^ National 
Security Agency's SHAMROCK program, by which copies of mil- 
lions of telegrams sent to, from, or through the United States were 
obtained between 1947 and 1973, involved the use of a Watch List 
from 1967-1973. The watch list included groups and individuals se- 
lected by the FBI for its domestic intelligence investigations and by 
the CIA for its Operation CHAOS program. In addition, the SHAM- 
ROCK Program resulted in NSA's obtaining not only telegrams to 
and from certain foreign targets, but countless telegrams between 
Americans in the United States and American or foreign parties 

In short, virtually every element of our society has been subjected to 
excessive government-ordered intelligence inquiries. Opposition to gov- 
ernment policy or the expression of controversial views was frequently 
considered sufficient for collecting data on Americans. 

The committee finds that this extreme breadth of intelligence activ- 
ity is inconsistent with the principles of our Constitution which pro- 
tect the rights of speech, political activity, and privacy against un- 
justified governmental intrusion. 

Subfinding (h) 

The absence of precise standards for intelligence investigations of 
Americans contributed to overbreadth. Congress did not enact statutes 
precisely delineating the authority of the intelligence agencies or 
defining the purpose and scope of domestic intelligence activity. The 
Executive branch abandoned the standard set by Attorney General 
Stone — that the government's concern was not with politicial opinions 
but with "such conduct as is forbidden by the laws of the United 
States." Intelligence agencies' superiors issued overinclusive directives 
to investigate "subversion'' (a term that was never defined in presi- 
dential directives) and "potential" rather than actual or likely crim- 
inal conduct, as well as to collect general intelligence on lawful 
political and social dissent. 

Congress has never set out a specific statutory charter for FBI 
domestic intelligence activity delineating the standards for opening 
intelligence investigations or defining the purpose and scoi:)e of do- 
mestic intelligence activity. ^^ 

Nor have the charters for foreign intelligence agencies — the Cen- 
tral Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency — articu- 
lated adequate standards to insure that those agencies did not be- 
come involved in domestic intelligence activity. While the 1947 Na- 
tional Security Act provided that the CIA shall have no "police, 
subpoena, law enforcement powers or internal security functions," ^® 

^* See "National Security Agency Surveillance Affecting Americans", NSA 
Report : Sec. II A, "Summary of XSA Watch List Activity". 

^ The FBI's statutory authority provides that the Attorney General may ap- 
point oflScials: "(1) to detect and prosecute crimes against the United States; 
(2) to assist in the protection of the President; and (3) to conduct such in- 
vestigations regarding oflScial matters under the control of the Department of 
Justice and the Department of State as may be directed by the Attorney Gen- 
eral." (28 U.S.C. .533.) 

Attorney General Edward H. Levi told the Select Committee "that the statu- 
tory basis for the operations of the Bureau cannot be said to be fully satisfac- 
torv." (Edward H. Levi testimony, 12/11/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 313.) 

"50 U.S.C. 403 (d)(3). 


the Act was silent concerning whether the CIA was authorized to 
target Americans abroad or to gather intelligence in the United States 
on Americans or foreign nationals in comiection with its foreign in- 
telligence responsibilities. By classified presidential directive, the CIA 
was authorized to conduct counterintelligence operations abroad and 
to maintain central counterintelligence files for the intelligence com- 
munity.^^ Counterintelligence activity was defined in the directive to 
include protection of the nation against "subversion," a term which, 
as in the directives authorizing FBI domestic intelligence activity, was 
not defined. 

In the absence of specific standards for CIA activity and given the 
susceptibility of the term "subversion" to broad interpretation, the 
CIA conducted Operation CHAOS — a large scale intelligence pro- 
gram involving the gathering of data on thousands of Americans and 
domestic groups to determine if they had "'subversive connections" — 
and illegally opened the mail of hundreds of thousands of Americans. 

Moreover, the Act does not define the scope of the authority granted 
to CIA's Director to protect intelligence "sources and methods." ^^ 
This authority has been broadly interpreted to permit surveillance of 
present and former CIA employees in the United States as well as 
domestic groups thought to be a threat to CIA installations in the 
United States. 

No Statute at all deals with the National Security Agency. That 
Agency — one of the largest of the intelligence agencies — was created 
by Executive Order in 1952. Although NSA's mission is to obtain 
foreign intelligence from "foreign" commmiications, this has been 
interpreted to permit NSA to. intercept communications where one 
terminal — the sender or receiver — was in the United States. Conse- 
quently when an American has used telephone or telegraph facilities 
between this country and overseas, his message has been subject to 
interception by NSA. NSA obtained copies of millions of private 
telegrams sent from, to or through the United States in its SHAM- 
ROCK program and complied with requests to target the international 
communications of specific Americans through the use of a watch list. 

In addition to the failure of Congress to enact precise statutory 
standards, members of Congress have put pressure on the intelligence 
agencies for the collection of domestic intelligence without adequate 
regard to constitutional interests.^^ Moreover, Congress has passed 
statutes, such as the Smith Act, which, although not directly authoriz- 
ing domestic intelligence collection, had the effect of contributing to 
the excessive collection of intelligence about Americans. 

Three functional policies, established by the Executive branch and 
acquiesced in by Congress, were the basis for the overbreadth of in- 
telligence investigations directed at Americans. These policies cen- 
tered on (1) so-called "subversion investigations" of attempts by 
hostile foreign governments and their agents in this country to in- 
fluence the course of American life; (2) the investigation of persons 
and groups thought to have a "potential" for violating tlie law or 
committing violence; and (3) the collection of general intelligence 
on political and social movements in the interest of ])redicting and 
controlling civil disturbances. 

" National Security Intelligence Directive No. 5. 

'^50 U.S.C. 403 (d) (3). 

" See Finding on Deficiencies in Control and Accountability, pp. 277-279. 


Each of these policies grew out of a legitimate concern. Nazi Ger- 
many, Japan and the Soviet Union mounted intelligence efforts in 
this country before World War II ; and Soviet operations continued 
after the war. In the 1960s and early 1970s, racist groups used force to 
deprive Americans of their civil rights, some American dissidents 
engaged in violence as a form of political protest, and there were 
large-scale protest demonstrations and major civil disorders in cities 
stenuning from minority frustrations. 

The Committee recognizes that the government had a responsibility 
to act in the face of the very real dangers presented by these develop- 
ments. But appropriate restraints, controls, and prohibitions on in- 
telligence collection were not devised ; distinctions between legitimate 
targets of investigations and innocent citizens were forgotten; and the 
Government's actions were never examined for their effects on the con- 
stitutional rights of Americans, either when programs originated or 
as they continued over the years. 

The policies of investigating Americans thought to have a "po- 
tential" for violence and the collection of general intelligence on po- 
litical and social movements inevitably resulted in the surveillance of 
American citizens and domestic groups engaged in lawful political 
activity. ''Subversive" was never defined in the presidential directives 
from Presidents Koosevelt to Kennedy authorizing FBI domestic 
intelligence activity. Consequently, "subvereive'" investigations did not 
focus solely on the activities of hostile foreign governments in this 
country. Rather, they targeted Americans Avho dissented from admin- 
istration positions or whose political positions were thought to re- 
semble those of '"subversive"' groups. An example of the ultimate re- 
sult of accepting the concept of "subversive" investigations is the 
Johnson "\Miite House instruction to the FBI to monitor public hear- 
ings on Vietnam policy and compare the extent to whicli Senators' 
views "followed the Communist Party line." ^° 

Similarly, investigations of those thought to have the "potential" 
for violating laws or committing violence and the collection of general 
intelligence to prepare for civil disturbances resulted in the surveil- 
lance of Americans where there was not reasonable suspicion to believe 
crime or violence were likely to occur. Broad categories of American 
society — ^^conservatives, liberals, blacks, women, young people and 
churches — were targeted for intelligence collection. 

Domestic intelligence expanded to cover widespread political pro- 
test movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s. For example, in 
September 1967, Attorney General Ramsev Clark called for a "new 
area of investigation and intelligence reporting" by the FBI regarding 
the possibility of "an organized pattern of violence" by groups in the 
"urban ghetto.'" He instructed FBI Director Hoover: 

. . . we must make certain that every attempt is being made 
to get all information bearing upon these problems ; to take 
every step possible to determine whether the rioting is pre- 
planned or organized. . . . As a part of the broad investigation 
which must be conducted . . . sources or informants in black 
nationalist organizations, SNCC and other less publicized 
groups should be developed and expanded to de^tennine the 

FBI summary memorandum, 1/31/75. 


size and purpose of these groups and their relationship to 
other groups.^ ^ 

Such instructions did not limit investigation to facts pointing to par- 
ticular criminal or violent activity but called for intensive intelligence 
surveillance of a broad category of black groups (and their connec- 
tions with other groups) to determine their "size and purpose." 

Similarly, the Army's broad domestic surveillance program re- 
flected administration pressure on the Army for information on groups 
and individuals involved in domestic dissent,^^ ^g ^ former Assistant 
Secretary of Defense testified, the Army's sweeping collection plan 
"reflected the all-encompassing and uninhibited demand for informa- 
tion directed at the Department of the Army." ^^ 

Presidents Johnson and Nixon subjected the CIA to intensive 
pressure to find foreign influence on the domestic peace movements, 
resulting in the establishment of Operation CHAOS.-* Wlien the 
Nixon Administration called for an intensification of CIA's effort, 
the CIA was instructed to broaden its targeting criteria and 
strengthen its collection efforts. CIA was told that "foreign Communist 
support" should be "liberally construed." ^^ The White House stated 
further that "it appears our present intelligence collection capabilities 
in this area may be inadequate" and implied that any gaps in CIA's 
collection program resulting from "inadequate resources or a low 
priority of attention" should be corrected.^® 

In short, having abandoned Attorney General Stone's standard 
that restricted Government investigations to "conduct and then only 
such conduct as is forbidden by the laws of the United States," the 
Government's far-reaching domestic intelligence policies inevitably 
produced investigations and surveillance of large numbers of law- 
abiding Americans. 

Sub-finding (c) 

The intelligence agencies themselves used imprecise and over-inclu- 
sive criteria in their conduct of intelligence investigations. Intelligence 
investigations extended beyond "subversive" or violent targets to 
additional groups and individuals subject to minimal "subversive in- 
fluence" or having little or no "potential" for violence. 

Having been given vague directions by their superiors and sub- 
jected to substantial pressure to report on a broad range of matters, 
the intelligence agencies themselves often established overinclusive 
targeting criteria. The criteria followed in the major domestic intel- 
ligence programs conducted in the 1960s and 1970s illustrate the 
breadth of intelligence targeting: 

^'■General, Racial Matters^\ — The FBI gathered intelligence about 
proposed "civil demonstrations" and related activities of "officials, 
committees, legislatures, organizations, etc." in the "racial field." ^^ 

^ Memorandum from Ramsey Clark to J. Edgar Hoover, 9/14/67. 

°^ See Military Surveillance Report : Sec. II C. 

^Robert F. Froehkle testimony, Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitu- 
tional Rights, 1971, cited hereinafter as 1911 Hearings. 

" See pp. 99-101. 

"^ Memorandum from Tom Charles Huston to Deputy Director of CIA, 6/20/69. 
p. 1. 

=* Memorandum from Tom Charles Huston to Deputy Director of CIA, 6/20/69, 
p. 1. 

"^ 1964 FBI Manual Section 122, p. 1. 


FBI Field Offices were directed to report the "general programs" 
of all "civil rights organizations" and "readily available personal 
background data" on leaders and individuals "in the civil rights 
movement," as well as any "subversive association" that might be 
recorded in Field Office files.^* In addition, the FBI reported "the 
objectives sought by the minority community." ^^ 

These broad criteria were also reflected in the FBI's targeting of 
"white militant groups" in the reporting of racial matters. Those who 
were "known to sponsor demonstrations against integration and 
against the busing of Negro students to white schools" were to be 

'''•New Leff'' IntelUgeiice. — In conducting a "comprehensive study of 
the whole New Left movement" (rather than investigating particular 
violations of law) , the FBI defined its intelligence target as a "loosely- 
bound, free-wheeling, college-oriented movement." ^^ Organizations to 
be investigated were those who fit criteria phrased as the "more extreme 
and militant anti-Vietnam war and antidraft organizations." ^- 

The use of such imprecise criteria resulted in investigations of such 
matters as (1) two university instructors who helped support a student 
newspaper whose editorial policy was described by the FBI as "left- 
of-center, antiestablishment, and opposed to the University Admin- 
istration"; ^^ (2) a dissident stockholder's group planning to protest 
a large corporation's war production at the annual stockholder's meet- 
ing; ^* and (3) "Free Univei-sities" attached to college campuses, 
whether or not there were facts indicating any actual or potential 
violation of law.^^ 

'"'"Rahh'le Rouser'^ Index. — Beginning in August 1967, the FBI con- 
ducted intensive intelligence investigations of individuals identified 
as "rabble rousers.'' The program was begun after a member of the 
National Advisoiy Commission on Civil Disorders asked the FBI at 
a meeting of the Commission "to identify the number of militant 
Negroes and Whites." ^^ This vague reference was subsequently used 
by the FBI as the basis for instructions implementing a broad new 
program: persons were to be investigated and placed on the "rabble 
rouser" index who were "racial agitators who have demonstrated a 
potential for fomenting racial discord." ^' 

Ultimately, a "rabble rouser" was defined as : 

A person who tries to arouse people to violent action by 
appealing to their emotions, prejudices, et cetera; a 

Thus, rather than collecting information on those who had or were 
likely to commit criminal or violent acts, a major intelligence program 
was launched to identify "demagogues." 

^ FBI Manual, Section 122, revised 12/13/66, p. 8-9. 
^' FBI Manual, Section 122, revised 12/13/66, p. 8-9. 
™ SAC Letter, 68-25, 4/30/68. 

"' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 10/28/68. 
"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs 10/28/68. 
*' Memorandum from Mobile Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 12/9/70. 
^* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 4/23/70. 
^ Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/15/66. 
"" Memorandum from Cartha Del^ach to Clyde Tolson. 8/1/67. 
'^ Memorandum from Charles Brennan to William Sullivan, 8/3/67 ; SAC Letter 
67-56, 9/12/67. 

^ SAC Letter No. 67-70, 11/28/67. 


Army Domestic Surveillance of '"'' Dissidents.'''' — Extremely broad 
criteria were used in the Army's nationwide surveillance program 
conducted in the late 1960s. Such general terms as "the civil rights 
movement" and the "anti-Vietnam/anti-draft movements" were used 
to indicate targets for investigation.^^ In collecting information on 
these "movements" and on the "cause of civil disturbances," Army 
intelligence was to investigate "instigators," "group participants," 
and "subversive elements" — all undefined. 

Under later revisions, the Army collection plan extended even be- 
yond "subversion" and "dissident groups" to "prominent persons" 
who were "friendly" with the "leaders of the distur'bance" or "sjnu- 
pathetic with their plans." ^° 

These imprecise crtieria led to the creation of intelligence files on 
nearly 100,000 Americans, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Major 
General Edwin Walker, Julian Bond, Joan Baez, Dr. Benjamin 
Spock, Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Congressman Abner Mikva, Sen- 
ator Adlai Stevenson III,*^ as well as clergymen, teachers, journalists, 
editors, attorneys, industrialists, a laborer, a construction worker, rail- 
road engineers, a postal clerk, a taxi driver, a chiropractor, a doctor, a 
chemist, an economist, a historian, a playwright, an accountant, an 
entertainer, professors, a radio announcer, athletes, business executives 
and authors — all of whom became subjects of Army files simply because 
of their participation in political protests or their association with 
those who were engaged in such political activity.*^ 

The IRS Computerized Intelligence Index. — In 1973, IRS estab- 
lished a central computer index — the "Intelligence Gathering and 
Retrieval System" — for general intelligence data, much of it unrelated 
to tax law enforcement. More than 465,000 Americans were indexed in 
the IRS computer system, including J. Edgar Hoover and the IRS 
Commissioner, as well as thousands of others also not suspected of tax 
violation. Names in newspaper articles and other published sources 
were indexed wholesale into the IRS computer. Under the system, in- 
telligence gathering preceded any specific allegation of a violation, 
and i^ossible "future value" was the sole criterion for inclusion of 
information into the Intelligence Gathering and Retrieval System. 

CI A'' 8 Operation CHAOS. — In seeking to fulfill Wliite House re- 
quests for evidence of foreign influence on domestic dissent, the CIA 
gave broad instructions to its overseas stations. These directives called 
for reporting on the "Radical Left" which included, according to the 
CIA, "radical students, antiwar activitists, draft resisters and desert- 
ers, black nationalists, anarchists, and assorted 'New Leftists'." *^ 
CIA built its huge CHAOS data base on the assumption that to know 
whether there was significant foreign involvement in a domestic grouj) 
"one has to know whether each and every one of these persons has any 
connection to foreigners." ** CIA instructed its stations that even 
"casual contacts based merely on mutual interest" between Americans 
opposed to the Vietnam war and "foreign elements" were deemed to 

^ 1911 Hearings, pp. 1120-1121. 

'" 1911 Hearings, pp. 1123-1138. 

*J Stein testimony, 1911 Hearings, p. 266. 

^^ "Military Surveillance of Civilian Politics," Senate Judiciary Subcommittee 
on Constitutional Rights Report, 1973, p. 57, cited hereafter as 1913 Report. 

^ Book Cable from Thomas Karamessines to various European Stations, June 

■"Richard Ober testimony, Rockefeller Commission, 3/28/75, pp. 88-89. 


"casual contacts based merely on mutual interest" between Americans 
opposed to the Vietnam war and "foreign elements" were deemed to 
constitute "subversive connections." '^^ Similarly, CIA's request to NSA 
for materials on persons targeted by the NSA Watch List called for 
all information regardless of how innocuous it may seem." **^ 

The Committee's investigation has shown that the absence of precise 
statutory standards and the use of overbroad criteria for domestic 
intelligence activity rcvsulted in the extension of intelligence investiga- 
tions beyond their oiiginal "subversive" or violent targets. Intelligence 
investigations extended to those thought to be subject to "subversive 
influence." INIoreover, those thought to have a "potential" for violence 
were also targeted and, in some cases, investigations extended even 
to those engaged in wholly non-violent lawful political expression. 

FBI ''COMINF/r\Investigafwns.— Vnd&Y the FBI's COMINFIL 
("communist infiltration") program, large njumbers of groups and 
individuals engaged in lawful political activity have been subjected 
to informant coverage and intelligence scin^itiny. Although COMIN 
FIL investigations were supposed to focus on the Communist Party's 
alleged efforts to penetrate domestic groups, in practice the target 
often became the domestic groups themselves. 

FBI COMINFIL investigations reached into domestic groups in 
virtually every area of American political life. The FBI conducted 
COMIXFIL investigations in such areas as "religion." "education," 
"veterans' mattere," "women's matters," "Negro question,'' and "cul- 
tural activities." *" The "entire spectrum of the social and labor move- 
ment" was covered.'** 

The overbreadth that results from the practice of investigating 
groups for indications of communist influence or infiltration is illus- 
trated by the following FBI COMIN FIL intelligence investigations: 

N A AOP.— An intensive 25 year long surveillance of the NAACP 
was conducted, ostensibly to determine whether there was Communist 
infiltration of the NAACP. This surveillance, however, produced 
detailed intelligence reports on NAACP activities wholly unrelated 
to any alleged communist "attempts" to infiltrate the NAACP, 
and despite the fact that no evidence was ever found to contradict the 
FBI's initial finding that the NAACP was opposed to communism.*^^ 

Northern Virginia Citizens Concerned About the ABM. — In 1969, 
the FBI conducted an intelligence investigation and used informants 
to report on a meeting held in a ])ublic high school auditorium at which 
the merits of the Anti-Ballistic Missile System were debated by, 
among others, Department of Defense officials. The investigation was 
apparently opened because a communist newspaper had commented 
on the fact that the meeting was to be held.*^ 

National Conference on Amnesty for Vietnam Veterans. — In 1974, 
FBT informants reported on a national conference sponsored by 

^ Cal)le from CIA Headquarters to field stations, November 1967, pp. 1-2. 

** Memorandum from Richard Ober to NSA, 9/14/71. 

" 1960 FBI Manual, Section 87, pp. 5-11. 

" Annual Report of the Attorney General for Fiscal Year 1955. p. 195. 

*** See History of Domestic Intelligence, Report, Part II at note 139. 

"James Adams testimony, 11/19/75, Hearings. Vol. 6. pp. 137-138. FBI docu- 
ments indicate that another factor in the opening of the investigation was the 
role of the wife of a Communist in assisting in publicity work for the meeting. 
(Memorandum from Washington Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 5/28/69: 
memorandum from Alexandria Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 6/3/69) See 
Findings 6(a), p. 10. for the broad dissemination of reports that resulted from 
this inquiry. 


church and civil liberties groups to support amnesty for Vietnam vet- 
erans. The investigation was based on a two-step "infiltration" theory. 
Other informants had reported that the A^ietnam Veterans Against 
the War (which was itself the subject of an intelligence investigation 
because it was thought to be subject to communist or foreign influence) 
mighty try to "control" the conference.°° Although the conference was 
thus twice removed from the original target, it was nevertheless sub- 
jected to informant surveillance. 

FBI intelligence investigations to find whether groups are sub- 
ject to communist or "subversive" influence result in the collection 
of information on groups and individuals engaged in wholly legiti- 
mate activity. Eeports on the NAACP were not limited to alleged com- 
munist infiltration. Similarly, the investigation of the National Am- 
nesty Conference produced reports describing the topics discussed at 
the conference and the organization of a steering committee which 
would include families of men killed in Vietnam and congressional 
staff aicles.^^ The reports on the meeting concerning the AB^I system 
covered the past and present residence of the person who applied to 
rent the high school auditorium, and plans for a future meeting, in- 
cluding the names of prominent political figures who planned to 

The trigger for COMINFIL-type investigations — that subversive 
"attempts" to infiltrate groups were a substantial threat — was great- 
ly exaggerated. According to the testimony of FBI officials, the 
mention in a communist newspaper of the citizens' meeting to de- 
bate the ABM was sufficient to produce intelligence coverage of that 
meeting.^^ A large public teach-in on Vietnam, including representa- 
tives of Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist and Unitarian churches, as 
well as a number of spokesmen for antiwar groups, was investigated 
because a Communist Party official had "urged" party membei's to 
attend and one speaker representing the W. E. B. DuBois Club was 
identified as a communist.'^'* The FBI surveillance of the teach-in re- 
sulted in a 41 -page intelligence report based on coverage by 13 in- 
formants and sources.^^ And the FBI's investigation of all Free Uni- 
versities near colleges and universities was undertaken because "sev- 
eral" allegedly had been formed by the Communist Party "and other 
subversive groups." ^^ 

Similarly, the FBI's broad COMIXFIL investigations of the civil 
rights movement in the South were based on the FBI's conclusion that 
the Communist Party had '''• attemyted/'' to take advantage of racial un- 
rest and had '"'' endeavored'''' to pressure U.S. Government officials 
"through the press, labor unions and student groups." " [Emphasis 

'•''' Raymond W. Wannall testimony, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 139. 

" Memorandum from Louisville Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/21/74. 

^ Memoranda from Alexandria Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/5/69. 

'' Adams, 11/19/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 138. 

°^ Memorandum from Philadelphia Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/2/66. 

^ Memorandum from Philadelphia Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 3/2/66. 

°\ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 2/17/66. 

"' Memorandum from .1. Edgar Hoover, Chairman, Interdepartmental Intelli- 
gence Conference, to McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant to the President for Na- 
tional Security. 7/25/61, enclosing IIC Report. Status of U.S. Internal Secu- 
rity Programs. See Findings on Political Abuse, p. 225 for discussion on the larger 
impact of such FBI terminology. 


supplied.] No mention was made of the general failure of these 

The Committee finds that COMINFIL investigations have been 
based on an exaggerated notion of the threat posed by "subversives" 
and foreign influence on American political expression. There has been 
an unjustified belief that Americans need informants and government 
surveillance to protect them from "subversive" influence in their 
unions, churches, schools, parties and political efforts. 

Investigations of Wholly Non-Violent Political Expression. — Do- 
mestic intelligence investigations have extended from those who com- 
mit or are likely to commit violent acts to those thought to have a "po- 
tential" for violence, and then to those engaged in purely peaceful 
political expression. This characteristic was graphically described by 
the White House official who coordinated the intelligence agencies' 
recommendations for "expanded" (and illegal) coverage in 1970. He 
testified that intelligence investigations risked moving 

from the kid with a bomb to the kid with a picket sign, and 
from the kid Avith the picket sign to the kid with the bumper 
sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going 
down the line.^^ 

AVithout precjise standards to restrict their scope, intelligence inves- 
tigations did move beyond those who committed or were likely to 
commit criminal or violent acts. For example : 

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was targeted for the FBI's COIN 
TELPRO operations against "Black Nationalist-Hate Groups" on the 
theory, without factual justification, that Dr. King might "abandon" 
his adherence to nonviolence.^^ 

— The intensive FBI investigation of the Women's Liberation 
Movement w-as similarly predicated on the theory that the activities 
of women in that JMovement might lead to demonstrations and 
violence. "^^ 

— ^The FBI investigations of Black Student L iiions proceeded from 
the concern of the FBI and its superiors over violence in the cities. Yet 
the FBI opened intelligence investigations on "every Black Student 
Union and similar group regardless of their jyast or jwesent involve- 
ment in cZ/so/rZe/'s." ^^ [Emphasis added.] 

— The nationwide Army Intelligence surveillance of civilians was 
conducted in connection with civil disorders. However, the Army col- 
lection plan focused not merely on those likely to commit A'iolence but 
was "so comprehensive . . . that any category of information related 
even remcitely to people or organizations actiAc in a community in 
which the potential for violence was present would fall within their 
scope." *'- 

The Committee finds that such intelligence surveillance of groups 
and individuals has greatly exceeded the legitimate interest of the 
government in law enforcement and the prevention of violence. Where 
unsupported determinations as to "potential" behavior are the basis for 

^'^ Tom Charles Huston testimony, 9/23/7.5, Hearings, Vol. 2, p. 45. 
59 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 3/4/68. 
''"Memorandum from New York Field OflSce to FBI Headquarters, 5/28/69. 
(Hearings, Vol. 6, Exhibit .54.) 
"^ Memorandum from Executives Conference to Tolson, 10/29/70. 
^ Froehlke, 1911 Hearings, p. 384. 

68-786 O - 76 - 13 


surveillance of groups and individuals, no one is safe from the 
inquisitive eye of the intelligence agency. 

Sub fundings (d) 

Intelligence agencies pursued a "vacuum cleaner" approach to in- 
telligence collection — drawing in all available information about 
groups and individuals, including their lawful political activity and 
details of their personal lives. 

Intelligence agencies collect an excessive amomit of information by 
pursuing a "vacuum cleaner" approach that draws in all available 
information, including lawful political activity, personal matters, 
and trivia. Even where the theory of the investigation is that the sub- 
ject is likely to be engaged in criminal or violent activity, the over- 
broad approach to intelligence collection intrudes into personal matters 
unrelated to such criminal or violent activity. 

FBI officials conceded to the Committee that in conducting broad 
intelligence investigations to determine the "real purpose" of an or- 
ganization, they sometimes gathered "too much information." ^^ 

The FBI's intelligence investigation of the "New Left," for example, 
was directed towards a "comprehensive study of the whole movement" 
and produced intensive monitoring of such subjects as "support of 
movement by religious groups or individuals," "demonstrations aimed 
at social reform," "indications of support by mass media," "all activity 
in the labor field," and "efforts to influence public opinion, the elec- 
torate and Government bodies." '^* 

Similar overbreadth characterized the FBI's collection of intelli- 
gence on "white militant groups." In 1968 FBI field offices were in- 
structed not to gather information solely on actual or potential 
violations of law or violence, but to use informants to determine the 
"aims and purposes of the organization, its leaders, approximate 
membership" and other "background data" relating to the group's 
"militancy." ^^ In 1971 the criteria for investigating individuals were 
widened. Special Agents in Charge of FBI field offices were instructed 
to investigate not only persons with "a potential for violence," but 
also anyone else "who in judgment of SAC should be subject of investi- 
gation due to extremist activities." ^^ 

Even in searching for indications of potential violence in black 
urban areas or in collecting information about violence-prone Ku 
Klux Klan chapters, there was marked overbreadth. In black urban 
areas, for example, FBI agents were instructed to have their inform- 
ants obtain the names of "Afro- American type bookstores" and their 
"owners, operators and clientele." *^^ The activities of civil rights and 
black groups as well as details of the personal lives of Klan members, 
were reported on by an FBI intelligence informant in the Ku Klux 
Klan.*'"'* Under this approach, the average citizen who merely attends 
a meeting, signs a petition, is placed on a mailing list, or visits a book 
store, is subject to being recorded in intelligence files. 

A striking example of informant reporting on all the}^ touch was 
provided by an FBI informant in an antiwar group with only 55 

*'^ Adams, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 135. 

'* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 10/28/68. 

"' SAC Letter 68-25, 4/30/68. 

'" 1971 Manual. Section 122. 

^'' Memorandum from Philadelphia Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/12/68. 

^'* Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6. p. 116. 


regulai' members and some 250 persons who gave occasional support. 
The informant estimated she reported nearly 1,000 names to the FBI 
in an 18-month period — 60-70 percent of whom were members of other 
groups (such as the United Church of Christ and the American Civil 
Liberties Union) which were engaging in peaceful, lawful political 
activity together with the antiwar group or who were on the group's 
mailing list.^^ Similarly in the intelligence investigation of the 
Women's Liberation Movement, informants reported the identities 
of individual women attending meetings (as well as reporting such 
matters as the fact that women at meetings had stated '"how they felt 
oppressed, sexually or otherwise.") .^^ 

Such collection of "intelligence" unrelated to specific criminal or 
violent activity constitutes a serious misuse of governmental power. 
In reaching into the private lives of individuals and monitoring their 
lawful political activity — ^matters irrelevant to any proper govern- 
mental interest — domestic intelligence collection has been unreasonably 

Subfrnding (e) 

Intelligence investigations in many cases continued for excessively 
long periods of time, resulting in sustained governmental monitoring 
of political activity in the absence of any indication of criminal con- 
duct or "subversion." 

One of the most disturbing aspects of domestic intelligence inves- 
tigations found by the Committee was their excessive length. Intel- 
ligence investigations often continued, despite the absence of facts in- 
dicating an individual or group is violating or is likely to violate the 
law, resulting in long-term government monitoring of lawful political 
activity. The following are examples : 

(i) The FBI InteJligem-e Investigation of the NAACP {19Ifl- 
1966). — The investigation of the NAACP began in 1941 and continued 
for at least 25 years. Initiated according to one FBI report as an 
investigation of protests by 15 black mess attendants about racial 
discrimination in the Navy,^° the investigation expanded to encompass 
XAACP chapters in cities across the nation. Although the ostensible 
purpose of this investigation was to determine if there Avas "Com- 
munist infiltration" of the NAACP, the investigation constituted a 
long-term monitoring of the N AACP's wholly lawful political activity 
by FBI informants. Thus : 

—The FBI New York Field Office submitted a 137-page report to 
FBI headquarters describing the national office of the NAACP, its 
national convention, its growth and membership, its officers and di- 
rectors, and its stand against Communism.' ^ 

—An FBI informant in Seattle obtained a list of NAACP branch 
officers and reported on a meeting where signatures were gathered on a 
"petition directed to President Eisenhower" and plans for two mem- 
bers to go to Washington, D.C., for a "Prayer Pilgrimage." " - 

'^ Mary .To Cook testimony, 12/2/75. Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 112, 120. 

*^ Memorandum from Kansas City Field Office, 10/20/70 ; memorandum New 
York Field Office, o/28/69 ; memorandum from Baltimore Field Office, .5/11/70 to 
FBI Headquarters. CIA agents in the United States also reiwrted on Women's 
Liberation activities in the course of their preparation for overseas duty in 
Operation CHAOS. (Agent 1. Contact Report. Vol. II, Agent 1 file.) 

™ Memorandum from Washington Field Office to FBI headquarters, 3/11/41. 

■^Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/12/57. 

'^Memorandum from Seattle Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/1/57. 


— In 1966, the New York Field Office reported the names of all 
NAACP national officers and board members, and summarized their 
political associations as far back as the 1940s.^^ 

— As late as 1966, the FBI was obtaining NAACP chapter member- 
ship figTires by "pretext telephone call . . . utilizing the pretext of being 
interested in joining that branch of the NAACP." '^ 

— Based on the reports of FBI informants, the FBI submitted a 
detailed report of a 1956 NAACP-sponsored Leadership Conference on 
Civil Rights and described plans for a Conference delegation to visit 
Senators Paul Douglas, Herbert Lehman, Wayne Morse, Hubert 
Humphrey, and John Bricker."^ Later reports covered what transpired 
at several of these meetings with Senators.'*' Most significantly, all 
these reports were sent to the White House. "^ 

(ii) The FBI Intelligence Investigation of the Socialist Worker's 
Party (1940 to date).— The FBI has investigated the Socialist Work- 
ers Party (SWP) from 1940 to the present day on the basis of that 
Party's revolutionary rhetoric and alleged international links. Never- 
theless, FBI officials testified that the SWP has not been responsible for 
any violent acts nor has it urged actions constituting an indictable 
incitement to violence." ^^ 

FBI informants have been reporting the political positions taken 
by the SWP with respect to such issues as the "Vietnam War," "racial 
matters," "U.S. involvement in Angola," "food prices," and any SWP 
efforts to support a non-SWP candidate for political office.'^ 

Moreover, to enable the FBI to develop "background information" 
on SWP leaders, informants have been reporting certain personal 
aspects of their lives, such as marital status. '^^ The informants also 
have been reporting on SWP cooperation with other groups who are 
not the subject of separate intelligence investigations.^" 

(iii) The Effort to Prove Negatives. — Intelligence investigations 
and programs have also continued for excessively long periods in ef- 
forts to prove negatives. CIA's Operation CHAOS began in 1967. 
From that year until the program's termination in 1974,^^ the CIA 
repeatedly reached formal conclusions that there was negligible for- 
eign influence on domestic protest activity. In 1967, the CIA concluded 
that Communist front groups did not control student organizations 
and that there were no significant links with foreign radicals ; ^^ in 
1968, the CTA concluded that U.S. student protest was essentially 
homegrown and not stimulated by an international conspiracy ; ®^ and 
in 1971 the CIA found "there is no evidence that foreign governments, 
organizations, or intelligence services now control LLS. New Left 

''^Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 4/15/65. 

''* Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/15/66. 

'' Memorandum from Hoover to Anderson, 3/5/56. 

^* Memorandum from Hoover to Anderson, 3/6/56. 

" See Findings on "Political Abuse." 

'^^ Robert Shackelford testimony, 2/2/76 ; pp. 89-90. 

'" Shackelford, 2/2/76, p. 89. 

'" Shackelford, 2/2/76 ; p. 90. 

^ Shackleford, 2/2/76. p. 92. 

^ See Findings, "Deficiencies in Control and Accountability", p. 265. 

*^ CIA memorandum, "Student Dissent and Its Techniques in the U.S.", 1/5/68. 

**CIA Report, "Restless Youth," Conclusions, p. 1, 9/4/68. 


Movements . . . the U.S. Nevv Left is basically self-sufficient and moves 
under its own impetus." ** 

The result of these repeated findings was not the termination of 
chaos's surveillance of Americans, but its redoublinir. Presidents 
Johnson and Nixon pressured the CIA to intensify its intelligence ef- 
fort to find evidence of foreign direction of the U.S. peace movement. 
As Director Helms testified : 

When a President keeps asking if there is any information, 
"how are you getting along with your examination,'' "have 
you picked up any more information on this subject," it isn't 
a direct order to do something, but it seems to me it behooves 
the Director of Central Intelligence to find some way to im- 
prove his performance, or improve his Agency's perform- 

In an effort to prove its negative finding to a skeptical White House — 
and to test its validity each succeeding year — CIA expanded its pro- 
gram, increasing its coverage of Americans overseas and building 
an ever larger "data base" on domestic political activity. Intelligence 
was exchanged with the FBI, NSA, and other agencies, and even- 
tually CIA agents Avho had infiltrated domestic organizations for 
other purposes supplied general information on the groups' activi- 
ties.*^ Thus, the intelligence mission became one of continued surveil- 
lance to prove a negative, wdth no thought to terminating the pro- 
gram in the face of the negative findings. 

As in the CHAOS operation, FBI intelligence investigations have 
often continued even in the absence of any evidence of "subversive" 
activities merely because the subjects of the investigation have not 
demonstrated their innocence to the FBI's satisfaction. The long- 
term investigations of the NAACP and the Socialist Workere Party 
described above are typical examples. 

A striking illustration of FBI practice is provided by the intelli- 
gence investigation of an advisor of Dr. ]Martin Luther King, Jr. The 
advisor was investigated on the theory that he might be a commu- 
nist "sympathizer." The Bureau's New York office concluded he was 
not.*^ Using a theory of "guilty until proven innocent," FBI head- 
quarters directed that the investigation continue : 

The Bureau does not agree with the expressed belief of the 
New York office that [ ]^^ is not sympathetic to the 

Party cause. While thei'e may not be any evidence that [ ] 
is a Communist neither is there any substantial evidence that 
he is anti-Communist.®^ 

^ CIA Report, "Definition and Assessment of Existing Internal Security 
Threat— Foreign," 1/5/71, pp. 1-3. 

^^ Richard Helms testimony, Rockfeller Commission, 4/28/75. pp. 2434-2435. 
Helms further testified : "President .Tohnson was after this all the time . . . this 
was something that came up almost daily and weekly." Helms, Rockefeller Com- 
mission, 1/13/75, pp. 163-164. 

* See CHAOS Report : Section II D, "Oiierations of the CHAOS Program and 
Related CIA Projects," and II E. "1969 Expansion of CHAOS." 

*' Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/14/64. 

^ Name deleted by Committee to protect privacy. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 4/24/64. 


Where citizens must demonstrate not simply that they have no 
connection with an intelligence target, but must exhibit "substantial 
evidence" that they are in opposition to the target, intelligence in- 
vestigations are indeed open-ended. 


Major Finding 

The intelligenc© community has employed surreptitious collection 
tecliniques — mail opening, surreptitious entries, informants, and 
"traditional" and highly sophisticated forms of electronic sum'eil- 
lance — to achieve its overly broad intelligence targeting and collec- 
tion objectiA-es. Although there are circumstances where these tech- 
niques, if properly controlled, are legal and appropriate, the Committee 
finds that their very nature makes them a threat to the personal 
privacy and Constitutionally protected activities of both the targets 
and of persons who communicate with or associate with the targets. 
The dangers inherent in the use of these techniques have been com- 
pounded by the lack of adequate standards limiting their use and by 
the absence of review by neutral authorities outside the intelligence 
agencies. As a consequence, these techniques have collected enormous 
amounts of personal and political information serving no legitimate 
governmental interest. 

Suh findings 

(a) Given the highly intrusive nature of these techniques/ the legal 
standards and procedures regulating their use have been insufficient. 
There have been no statutory controls on the use of informants; there 
have been gaps and exceptions in the law of electronic surveil- 
lance; and the legal prohibitions against warrantless mail opening and 
surreptitious entries have been ignored. 

(b) In addition to providing the means by which the Government 
can collect too much information about too many people, certain 
techniques have their own peculiar dangers : 

(i) Informants have provoked and participated in violence and 
other illegal activities in order to maintain their cover, and they have 
obtained membership lists and other private documents. 

(ii) Scientific and technological advances have rendered traditional 
controls on electronic surveillance obsolete and have made it more 
difficult to limit intrusions. Because of the nature of wiretaps, micro- 
phones and other sophisticated electronic techniques, it has not always 
been possible to restrict the monitoring of communications to the per- 
sons being investigated, 

(c) The imprecision and manipulation of labels such as "national 

^ The techniques noted here do not constitute an exhaustive list of the sur- 
reptitious means by whicli intelligence agencies have collected information. The 
FBI, for example, has obtained a great deal of financial information about Amer- 
ican ciitzens from tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service. (See IRS 
Report: Sec. I. "IRS Disclosures to FBI and CIA.") This section, however, is 
limited to problems raised by electronic surveillance, mail opening, surreptitious 
entries informants and electronic surveillances. 



security," "domestic security," "subversive activities," and "foreign 
intelligence" have led to unjustified use of these techniques. 

Elaboration of Findings 

The preceding section described how the absence of rigorous stand- 
ards for opening, controlling, and terminating investigations sub- 
jected many diverse elements of this society to scrutiny by intelligence 
agencies, without their being suspected of violating any law. Once an 
investigation was opened, almost any item of information about a 
target's personal behavior or political views was considered worth 

Extremely intrusive techniques — such as those listed above — have 
often been used to accomplish those overly broad targeting and collec- 
tion objectives. 

The paid and directed informant has been the most extensively used 
technique in FBI domestic intelligence investigations. Informants 
were used in 83% of the domestic intelligence investigations analyzed 
in a recent study by the General Accounting Office.^^ As of June 30, 
1975, the FBI was using a total of 1,500 domestic intelligence infor- 
mants,^ In 1972 there were over 7,000 informants in the ghetto infor- 
mant program alone. In fiscal year 1976, the Bureau has budgeted more 
than $7,4 million for its domestic intelligence informant program, 
more than twice the amount allocated for its organized crime infor- 
mant program.^ 

Wiretaps and microphones have also been a significant means of 
gathering intelligence. Until 1972, the FBI directed these electronic 
techniques against scores of American citizens and domestic organiza- 
tions during investigations of such matters as domestic "subversive" 
activities and leaks of classified information. The Bureau continues to 
use these techniques against foreign targets in the United States. 

The most extensive use of electronic surveillance has been by the 
National Security Agency. NSA has electronically monitored (with- 
out wiretapping in the traditional sense) international communication 
links since its inception in 1952 ; because of its sophisticated technol- 
ogy, it is capable of intercepting and recording an enormous number 
of communications between the United States and foreign countries.* 

All mail opening programs have now been terminated, but a total 
of twelve such operations were conducted by the CIA and the FBI in 
ten American cities between 1940 and 1973.^ Four of these were oper- 
ated by the CIA, whose most massive project involved the opening of 
more than 215,000 letters between the TTnited States and the Soviet 
Union over a twenty-year period. The FBI conducted eight mail open- 
ing programs, three of which included opening mail sent between two 
points in the United States. The longest FBI mail opening program 

" Report to the House Committee on the Judiciary, by the Comptroller General 
of the United States, "FBI Domestic Intelligence Operations — ^^Their purpose and 
scope : Issues that Need to be Resolved," 2/24/76, p. 96. 

'^ FBI memorandum to the Select Committee. 11/28/75. 

'Memorandum, FBI Overall Intelligence Program FY 1977 Compared to FY 
1976 undated. The cost of the intelligence informant program comprises payments 
to informants for services and expense as well as the costs of FBI personnel, 
support and overhead. 

* See NSA Report : Sec. I, "Introduction and Summary." 

° See Mail Opening Reports : Sec. I, "Summary and Principal Conclusions." 


lasted, with one period of suspension, for approximately twenty-six 

The FBI has also conducted hundreds of warrantless surreptitious 
entries — break-ins — durino- the past twenty-five years. Often these 
entries were conducted to install electronic listening devices; at other 
times they involved physical searches for information. The widespread 
use of warrantless surreptitious entries against both foreign and do- 
mestic targets was termiriated by the Bureau in 1966 but the FBI has 
occasionally made such entries against foreign targets in more recent 

All of these techniques have been turned against American citizens 
as well as against certain foreign targets. On the theory that the 
executive's responsibility in the area of "national security" and "for- 
eign intelligence" justified their use without the need of judicial super- 
vision, the intelligence couununity believed it was free to direct these 
techniques against individuals and organizations whom it believed 
threatened the country's security. The standards governing the use of 
these techniques have been imprecise and susceptible to expansive inter- 
pretation and in the absence of any judicial check on the application of 
these vague standards to particular cases, it was relatively easy for 
intelligence agencies and their superiors to extend them to many cases 
where they were clearly inappropriate. Lax internal controls on the 
use of some of these techniques compounded the problem. 

These intrusive techni({ues by their very nature invaded tlie private 
comunmications and activities both of the individuals they were di- 
rected against and of the persons with whom the targets communicated 
or associated. Conse(piently, they provided the means by whicli all 
types of information — including personal and political information 
totally unrelated to any legitimate governmental objective — were col- 
lected and in some cases disseminated to the highest levels of the 

Suhfindmg {a) 

Given the highly intrusive nature of these techniques, the legal 
standards and procedures regulating their use have been insufficient. 
There have been no statutory controls on the use of informants; there 
have been gaps and exceptions in the law of electronic surveillance; and 
the legal prohibitions agaiiist warrantless mail opening and surrepti- 
tious entries have been ignored. 

1. The Absence of Statutory Restraints on the Use of Infornutnts 

There are no statutes or published regulations governing the use of 
informants.*' Consequently, the FBI is free to use informants, guided 
only by its own internal directives which can be changed at any time by 
FBI officials without approval from outside the Bureau." 

"Title 28 of the United States Code provides only that appropriations for the 
Department of .Justice are available for payment of informants. 28 U.S.C. § .524. 

" The Attorney General has announced that he will issue guidelines on the use 
of informants in the near future, and our recommendations provide standards for 
informant control and prohibitions on informant activity. (See pp. .328.) In 
addition, the Attorney General's recently promulgated guidelines on "Domestic 
Security Investigations" limit the use of informants at 'rhe early stages of such 
inquiries and provide for review by the .Justice Department of the initiation of 
"full investigations" in which new informants may be recruited. 


Apart from court decisions precluding the use of informants to 
entrap persons into criminal activity, there are few judicial opinions 
dealing with informants and most of those concern criminal rather 
than intelligence informants.* The United States Suj^reme Couit has 
never ruled on whether the use of intelligence informants in the 
contexts revealed by the Committee's investigation offend Firsit 
Amendment rights of freedom of expression and association.'' 

In the absence of regulation through statute, published regidation, 
or court decision, the FBI has used informants to report on virtually 
every aspect of a targeted group or individual's activity, including 
lawful political expression, political meetings, the identities of group 
members and their associates, the "thoughts and feelings, intentions 
and ambitions,-' of members,^" and personal matters irrelevant to any 
legitimate governmental interest. Informants have also been used by 
the FBI to obtain the confidential records and documents of a group." 

Informants could be used in any intelligence investigation. FBI 
directives have not limited informant reporting to actual or likely 
violence or other violations of law.^- Xor has any determination been 
made concerning whether the substantial intrusion represented by 
informant coverage is justified by the government's interest in ob- 
taining information, or whether less intrusive means would adequately 
serve the government's interest. There has also been no requirement 
that the decisions of FBI officials to use informants be reviewed by 
anyone outside the FBI. In short, intelligence informant coverage 
has not been subject to the standards which govern the use of other 
intrusive techniques such as electronic surveillance, even thoTigh in- 
formants can produce a far broader range of information. 

2. Gaps and Exceptions in the Laio of Electrmiic Surveillance 

Congress and the Supreme Court have both addressed the legal 
issues raised by electronic surveillance, but the law has been riddled 
with gaps and exceptions. The Executive branch has been able to 
apply vague standards for the use of this technique to particular cases 

^ In a criminal case involving charges of jury bribery. United States v. Hoffa. 
385 U.S. 293 (1966), the Supreme Court ruled that an informant's testimony 
concerning conversations of a defendant could not be considered the product of a 
warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment on the ground the 
defendant had consented to the presence of the informant. In another criminal 
case, Lciois v. Vnited States, 385 U.S. 206 (1966), the Court stated that "in 
the detection of many types of crimes, the Government is entitled to use decoys 
and to conceal the identity of its agents." 

® In a more recent case, the California Supreme Court held that secret 
surveillance of classes and group meetings at a university through the use of 
undercover agents was "likely to pose a sul)stantial restraint upon the exercise 
of First Amendment rights." White v. Davis, 533 Pac. Rep. 2d, 223 (1975) 
Citing a number of U.S. Supreme Court opinions, the California Supreme Court 
.stated in its unanimous decision : 

"In view of this significant potential chilling effect, the challenged surveil- 
lance activities can only be sustained if [the Oovernment] can demonstrate a 
'compelling' state interest which justifies the resultant deterrence of First 
Amendment rights and which cannot be served by alternative means less instru- 
sive on fundamental rights." 533 Pac. Rep. 2d. at 232 

" Garv Rowe testimonv. 12/2/75 Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 111. 118. 

" Cook. 12/2/75. Hearings, Vol. 6. p. 111. 

^ The FBI Manual of Instructions proscribes only reporting of privileged 
communications between an attorney and client, legal "defense plans or strateg.v," 
"employer-employee relationships" (where an informant is connected with a 
labor union), and "legitimate institution or campus activities" at schools. (FBI 
Manual Section 107.) 


as it has seen fit. and, in the case of NSA monitoring, the standards 
and procednres for the use of electronic surveillance were not applied 
at all. 

"\yiien the Supreme Court first considered wiretapping, it held that 
the warrantless use of this technique was constitutional because the 
Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement applied only to physical 
trespass and did not extend to the seizure of conversation. This 
decision, the 1928 case of Ohnstead v. United States, involved a crim- 
inal prosecution, and left federal agencies free to engage in the 
unrestricted use of wiretaps in both criminal and intelligence investi- 

Six years later, Congress enacted the Federal Communications Act 
of 1934, which made it a crime for "any person," without authorization, 
to intercept and divulge or publish the contents of wire and radio 
communications. The Supreme Court subsequently construed this sec- 
tion to apply to federal agents as well as to ordinary citizens, and held 
that evidence obtained directly or indirectly from the interception of 
wire and radio communications was not admissible in court." But 
Congress acquiesed in the Justice Department's position that these 
cases prohibited only the divulgence of contents of wire communica- 
tions outside the executive branch, ^^ and Government wiretapping for 
intelligence purposes other than prosecution continued. 

On the ground that neither the 1934 Act nor the Supreme Court 
decisions on wiretapping were meant to apply to "grave matters in- 
volving the defense of the nation,"' President Franklin Roosevelt 
authorized Attorney General Jackson in 1940 to approve wiretaps 
on "persons suspected of subversive activities against the Govern- 
ment of the United States, including suspected spies."^*' In the absence 
of any guidance from Congress or the Court for another quarter 
century, the executive branch first broadened this standard in 1946 
to permit wiretapping in "cases vitally affecting the domestic security 
or where human life is in jeopardy,'' " and then modified it in 1965 
to allow wiretapping in "investigations related to the national se- 
curity." ^* Internal Justice Department policy required the prior 
approA-al of the Attorney General before the FBI could institute wire- 
taps in particular cases,^^ but until the mid-1960"s there was no require- 

" Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928) . 

".Yorf/o/ie v. United States. 302 U.S. 397 (1937) ; 308 U.S. 338 (1939). 

" For example, letter from Attorney General Jackson to Rep. Hatton Summer.s, 
3/19/41 ; See Electronic Surveillance Report : Sec. II. 

^® Memorandum from President Roosevelt to the Attorney General 5/21/40. 

" Letter from Attorney General Tom C. Clark to President Truman, 7/17/46. 

" Directive from President .Johnson to Heads of Agencies, 6/30/65. 

" President Roosevelt's 1940 order directed the Attorney General to approve 
wiretaps "after investigation of the need in each case." (Memorandum from 
President Roosevelt to Attorney General Jackson, 5/21/40.) However, Attorney 
General Francis Biddle recalled that Attorney General Jackson "turned it over 
to Edgar Hoover without himself passing on each case" in 1940 and 1941, Riddle's 
practice beginning in 1941 conformed to the President's order. (Francis Biddle, 
In Brief Authority (Garden City: Doubleday, 1962), p. 167.) 

Since 1965, explicit written authorization has been required. (Directive of 
President Johnson 6/30/65.) This requirement however, has often been dis- 
regarded. In violation of this requirement, for example, no written authorizations 
were obtained from the Attorney General — ^or from any one else — for a series 
of four wiretaps implemented in 1971 and 1972 on Yeoman Charles Radford, two 
of his friends, and his father-in-law. See Electronics Surveillance Report ; Sec. VI. 



ment of periodic reapproval by the Attorney General.^" In the absence 
of any instruction to terminate them, some wiretaps remained in effect 
for years.^^ 

In 1967, the Supreme Court reversed its holding in the Olmstead 
case and decided that the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement 
did apply to electronic surveillances.-- It expressly declined, however, 
to extend this holding to cases involving the "national security." ^-* 
Congress followed suit the next year in the Omnibus Crime Control 
Act of 1968, which established a warrant procedure for electronic sur- 
veillance in criminal cases but included a provision that neither it nor 
the Federal Communications Act of 1934 "shall limit the constitutional 
power of the President." -^ Although Congress did not purport to 
define the President's power, the Act referred to five broad categories 
which thereafter served as the Justice Department's criteria for war- 
rantless electronic surveillance. The first three categories related to 
foreign intelligence and counterintelligence matters : 

(1) to protect the Nation against actual or potential attack or 
other hostile acts of a foreign power ; 

C^) to obtain foreign intelligence information deemed essential 
to the security of the United States ; and 

(3) to protect the national security information against for- 
eign intelligence activities. 

The last two categories dealt with domestic intelligence interests : 

(4) to protect the United States against overthrow of the gov- 
ernment by force or other unlawful means, or 

(5) against any other clear and present danger to the structure 
or existence of the government. 

In 1972, the Supreme Court held in United States v. United States 
District Court^^^^ that the President did not have the constitutional 
power to authorize warrantless electronic surveillances to protect the 


The first and third of these taps were implemented at the oral instruction of 
Attorney General John Mitchell. (Memorandum from T. J. Smith E. S. Miller, 
2/26/73.) The remaining taps were implemented at the oral request of David 
Young, and assistant to John Ehrlichman at the White House, who merely in- 
formed the Bureau that the requests originated with Ehrlichman and had the 
Attorney General's concurrence. (Memorandum from T. J. Smith to E. S. Miller. 

^° Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach instituted this requirement in March 
1965. (Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 3/3/65.) 

^ The FBI maintained one wiretap on an official of the Nation of Lslam that 
had originally been authorized by Attorney General Brownell in 1957 for seven 
years until 1964 without any subsequent re-authorization. (Memorandum from 
J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 12/31/65, initialed "Approved : HB, 

As Nicholas Katzenbach testified : "The custom was not to put a time limit 
on a tap, or any wiretap authorization. Indeed, I think the Bureau would have 
felt free in 1965 to put a tap on a phone authorized by Attorney General Jackson 
before World War II." (Nicholas Katzenbach testimony, 11/12/75, p. 87.) 

- Katz V. llnUcd States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967). 

"" The Court wrote : "Whether safeguards other than prior authorization by 
a magistrate would satisfy the Fourth Amendment in a situation involving the 
national security is a question not presented bv this case." 389 U.S. at 358 n. 23. 

^'ISU.S.C. 2511 (3). 

=«M07U.S. 297 (1972) 


nation from domestic threats.^* The Court pointedly refrained, how- 
ever, from any "judgment on the scope of the Presidents' surveillance 
power with respect to the activities of foreign powers, within or with- 
out this country." ^^ Only "the domestic aspects of national security" 
came within the ambit of the Court's decision.^*' 

To conform with the holding in this case, the Justice Department 
thereafter limited warrantless wire tapping to cases involving a "sig- 
nificant comiection with a foreign power, its agents or agencies.^^ 

At no time, however, were the Justice Department's standards and 
procedures ever applied to NSA's electronic monitoring system and its 
"watch listing'' of American citizens.^® From the early 1960's until 1973, 
NSA compiled a list of individuals and organizations, including 1200 
American citizens and domestic groups, whose communications were 
segregated from the mass of communications intercepted by the 
Agency, transcribed, and frequently disseminated to other agencies 
for intelligence purposes.^^ 

The Americans on this list, many of whom were active in the anti- 
war and civil rights movements, were placed there by the FBI, CIA, 
Secret Service, Defense Department, and NSA itself without prior 
judicial warrant or even the prior approval of the Attorney General. 
In 1970, NSA began to monitor telephone communications links be- 
tween the United States and South America at the request of the 
Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) to obtain infor- 
mation about international drug trafficking. BNDD subsequently 
submitted the names of 450 American citizens for inclusion on the 

^ At the same time, the Court recognized that "domestic security surveillance" 
may involve different policy and practical considerations apart from the surveil- 
lance of 'ordinary crime,' 407 U.S. at 321, and thus did not hold that "the same 
type of standards and procedures prescribed by Title III [of the 1968 Act] are 
necessarily applicable to this case." (407 U.S. at 321.) The Court noted: 

"Given the potential distinctions between Title III criminal surveillances and 
those involving the domestic security, Congress may wish to consider protective 
standards for the latter which differ from already prescribed for specified 
crime in Title III. Different standards may be compatible with the Fourt Amend- 
ment." (407 U.S. at 321.) 

^407 U.S. at 307. 

^'407 U.S. at 320. United States v. United States District Court remains the 
only Supreme Court case dealing with the issue of warrantless electronic sur- 
veillance for intelligence purposes. Three federal circuit courts have considered 
this issue since 1972, however. The Third Circuit and the Fifth Circuit both held 
that the President may constitutionally authoi'ize warrantless electronic surveil- 
lance for foreign counterespionage and foreign intelligence purposes. [United 
States V. Buteiiko, 494 F.2d 593 (3d Cir. 1974), cert, denied sub nom. Ivanov v. 
United States, 419 U.S. 881 (1974) ; and United States v. Broum, 484 F.2d 418 
(5th Cir., 1973), cert, denied 415 U.S. 960 (1974).] The District of Columbia Cir- 
cuit held unconstitutional the warrantless electronic surveillance of the Jewish 
Defense League, a domestic organization whose activities allegedly affected 
U.S. Soviet relations but which was neither the agent of nor in collaboration 
with a foreign power. [Zweibon v. Mitchell, 516 F.2d 594 (D.C. Cir., 1975) 
{en banc).] 

^ Testimony of Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kevin Maroney, Hearings 
before the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedures, 
6/29/72, p. 10. This language paralled that of the Court in United States v. 
United States District Court, 407 U.S. at 309 n. 8. 

^ Although Attorney General John Mitchell and Justice Department officials on 
the Intelligence Evaluation Committee apparently learned that NSA was making 
a contribution to domestic intelligence in 1971, there is no indication that the 
FBI told them of its submission of names of Americans for inclusion on a NSA 
"watch list." When Assistant Attorney General Henry Petei'sen learned of these 
practices in 1973, Attorney General Elliott Richardson ordered that they be 
terminated. (See Report on NSA: Sec. I, "Introduction and Summary.") 

^ See NSA Report : Sec. I, "Introduction and Summary." 


Watch List, again without warrant or the approval of the Attorney 

The legal standards and procedures regulating the use of micro- 
phone surveillance have traditionally been even more lax than those 
regulating the use of wiretapping. The first major Supreme Court 
decision on microphone surveillance was Goldman v. United States^ 
316 U.S. 129 (1942), which held that such surveillance in a criminal 
case was constitutional when the installation did not involve a trespass. 
Citing this case, Attorney General McGrath prohibited the trespas- 
sory use of this technique by the FBI in 1952.^^ But two years later — 
a few weeks after the Supreme Court denounced the use of a micro- 
phone installation in a criminal defendant's bedroom ^^ — Attorney 
General Brownell gave the FBI sweeping authority to engage in 
bugging for intelligence purposes. ". . . ( C ) onsiderations of internal 
security and the national safety are paramount," he wrote, "and, there- 
fore, may compel the unrestricted use of this technique in the national 
interest." ^^ 

Since Brownell did not require the prior approval of the Attorney 
General for bugging specific targets, he largely undercut the policy 
that had developed for wiretapping. The FBI in many cases could 
obtain equivalent coverage by utilizing bugs rather than taps and 
would not be burdened with the necessity of a formal request to thp 
Attorney General. 

The vague "national interest" standards established by Brownell. 
and the policy of not requiring the Attorney General's prior approval 
for microphone installations, continued until 1965, when the Justice 
Department began to apply the same criteria and procedures to both 
microphone and telephone surveillance. 

3. Ignoring the Prohibitions Against Wai'^rantless Mail Opening and 
Surreptitious Entries 

Warrantless mail opening and surreptious entries, unlike the use 
of informants and electronic surveillance, have been clearly prohibited 
by both statuton^ and constitutional law. In violation of these pro- 
hibitions, the FBI and the CIA decided on their own when and how 
these techiiiques should be used.^^ 

Sections 1701 through 1973 of Title 18 of the United States Code 
forbid persons other than employees of the Postal Service "dead letter" 
office from tampering with or opening mail that is not addressed to 
them. Violations of these statutes may result in fines of up to $2000 

'"Memorandum from Iredell to Gayler, 4/10/70; See NSA Report: Sec. I. 
Introduction and Summary. BNDD originally requested NSA to monitor the 
South American link because it did not believe it had authority to wiretap a few 
public telephones in New York City from which drug deals were apparently being 
arranged. (Iredell testimony, 9/18/75, p. 99.) 

'^ Memorandum from the Attorney General to Mr. Hoover, 2/26/52. 

'= Irvme v. California, 347 U.S. 128 (1954). 

^^ Memorandum from the Attorney General to the Director, FBI, 5/20/54. 

'* While such techniques might have been authorized by Attorneys General 
under expansive "internal security" or "national interest" theories similar to 
Brownell's authorization for installing microphones by trespass, the issue was 
never presented to them for decision before 1967. when Attorney General Ramsey 
Clark turned down a surreptitious entry request. There is no indication that the 
legal questions were considered in any depth in 1970 or 1971 at the time of the 
"Huston Plan" and its aftermath. See Huston Plan Report: Sec. Ill, Who, 
What, When and Where. 


and imprisonment for not more than five years. The Supreme Court 
has also held that both First Amendment and Fourth Amendment 
restrictions appl}- to mail opening. 

The Fourth Amendment concerns were articulated as early as 1878, 
when the Court wrote : 

The constitutional guaranty of the right of the people to be 
secure in their papers against unreasonable searches and 
seizures extends to their papers, thus closed against inspec- 
tion, wherever the}- may be. Whilst in the mail, they can only 
be opened and examined under like warrant ... as is re- 
quired when papers are subjected to search in one's own house- 

This principle was reaffirmed as recently as 1970 in United States v. 
YanLeeuicen. 396 U.S. 249 (1970). The infringement of citizens' First 
xVmendment rights resulting from warrantless mail opening was first 
recognized by Justice Holmes in 1921. "The use of the mails,'' he wrote 
in a dissent no^v embraced by prevailing legal opinion, "is almost as 
much a part of free speech as the right to use our tongues." ^' This 
principle, too, has been affirmed in recent years.^^ 

Breaking and entering is a conunon laAv felony as well as a viola- 
tion of state and federal statutes. AVhen committed by Government 
agents, it has long been recognized as "the chief evil against which 
the wording of the Fourth Amendment is directed." ^^ 

In the one judicial decision concerning the legality of warrantless 
"national security" break-ins for physical search purposes. United 
States District Court Judge Gerhard Gescll held such entries un- 
constitutional. This case. United States v. Ehrlichman,;^^ involved 
an entry into the office of a Los Angeles psychiatrist. Dr. Lewis Field- 
ing, to obtain the medical records of his client Daniel Ellsberg, who 
was then under federal indictment for revealing classified docu- 
ments. The entry was approved by two Presidential assistants, John 
Ehrlichman and Charles Colson, who argued that it had been justi- 
fied "in the national interest." Ruling on the defendants' discovery 
motions. Judge Gesell found that because no search Avarrant was 
obtained : 

The search of Dr. Fielding's office was clearly illegal under 
the unambiguous mandate of the Fourth Amendment. . . 
[T]he Government must comply with the strict constitu- 
tional and statutory limitations on trespassory searches and 
arrests even when known foreign agents are involved. . , . 
To hold otherwise, except under the most exigent circum- 
stances, would be to abandon the Fourth Amendment to the 
whim of the Executive in total disregard of the Amend- 
ment's history and purpose." 

"^ Ex Parte Jackson, 96. U.S. 727, 733 (1878). 

'''' Miltcaukec Pub. Co. v. Burleson, 255 U.S. 407. 437 (1921) (dissent). 
^See Lamont v. Postmaster General, 381 U.S. 301 (1965) ; Procunier v. Mar- 
tinez, 416 U. S. 396 ( 1975 ) . 

"^United States v. United States District Court, 407 US 297. 313 (1972). 
•"■376 F. Supp. 29. (D.D.C. 1974). 
" 376 F. Supp. at 33. 


In the appeal of this decision, the Justice Department has taken the 
position that a physical search may be authorized by the Attorney 
General without a warrant for "foreign intelligence" proposes.*^ 
The warrantless mail opening programs and surreptitious entries 
by the FBI and CIA did not even conform to the "foreign intelligence" 
standard, however, now were they specifically approved in each case by 
the Attorney General. Domestic "subversives" and "extremists" were 
targeted for mail opening; and domestic "subversives" and ""Wliite 
Hate groups" were among those targeted for surreptitious entries.*^ 
Until the Justice Department's recent statement in the Ehrlichman 
case, moreover, no legal justification had ever been advanced publicly 
for violating the statutory or constitutional prohibitions against physi- 
cal searches or opening mail without a judicial warrant, and none has 
ever been officially advanced by any Administration to justify war- 
rantless mail openings. 

Subprnding (h) 

In addition to providing the means by which the Government 
can collect too much information about too many people, certain tech- 
niques have their own peculiar dangers : 

(i) Informants have provoked and participated in violence and 
other illegal activities in order to maintain their cover, and they have 
obtained membership lists and other private documents. 

(ii) Scientific and technological advances have rendered obsolete 
traditional controls on electronic surveillance obsolete and have made 
it more difficult to limit intrusions. Because of the nature of wiretaps, 
microphones, and other sophisticated electronic techniques, it has not 
always been possible to restrict the monitoring of communications to 
the persons being investigated. 

a. The Intrusive Nature of the Intelligence Informant Tech- 

The FBI employs two types of informants: (1) "intelligence 
informants" who are used to report on groups and individuals in the 
course of intelligence investigations, and (2) "criminal informants," 
who are used in connection with investigations of specific criminal 
activity. FBI intelligence informants are administered by the FBI 
Intelligence Division at Bureau headquarters through a centralized 
system that is separate from the administrative system for FBI crimi- 
nal informants. For example, the FBI's large-scale Ghetto Informant 
Program was administered by the FBI Intelligence Division. The 
Committee's investigation centered on the use of FBI intelligence in- 
formants. The FBI's criminal informant program fell outside the 
scope of the Committee's mandate, and accordingly it was not 

The Committee recognizes that FBI intelligence infonnants in 
violent groups have sometimes played a key role in the enforcement of 

■*" Letter from Acting Assistant Attorney General John C. Keeny to Hugh E. 
Kline. Clerk of the U.S. Coiirt of Appeals for the District of Columbia. .5/9/75. 

"The Supreme Court's decision in United States v. United States District 
Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972K clearly established the principle that such warrant- 
less invasions of the privacy of Americans are unconstitutional. 


the criminal law. The Committee examined a number of such cases,** 
and in public hearings on the use of FBI intelligence informants in- 
cluded the testimony of a former informant in the Ku Klux Klan 
whose reporting and court room testimony was essential to the arrest 
and conviction of the murderers of Mrs. Viola Liuzzo, a civil rights 
worker killed in 1965.*^ Former Attorney General Katzenbach testified 
that informants were vital to the solution of the murders of three civil 
rights workers killed in Mississippi in lOG-i.**^ 

FBI informant coverage of the AYomen's Liberation INIovement re- 
sulted in intensive reporting on the identities and opinions of women 
Avho attended WLM meetings. For example, the FBI's New York 
Field Office summarized one informant's report in a memorandum to 
FBI Headquarters: 

Informant advised that a "WLM meeting was held on 

*' Each woman at 

this meeting stated why she had come to the meeting and how 
she felt oppressed, sexually or otherwise. 

According to this informant, these women are mostly con- 
cerned with liberating women from this "oppressive society." 
They are mostly against marriage, children, and other states 
of oppression caused by men. Few of them, according to the 
informant, have had political backgrounds.*^ 

Individual women who attended WLM meetings at midwestern 
univei-sities were identified by FBI intelligence infomiants. A report 
by the Kansas City FBI Field Office stated : 

Informant indicates members of Women's Liberation 
campus group who are now enrolled as students at Univei-sity 

of Missouri, Kansas City, are , , , 

, *^ Informant noted that , and 

,^° not currently students on the UMKC campus are 

reportedly roommates at ^^ 

" In one case, an FBI informant involved in an intelligence investigation 
of the Detroit Black Panther Party furnished advance information regarding a 
planned ambush of Detroit police officers which enabled the Detroit Police De- 
partment to take necessary action to prevent injury or death to the officers and 
resulted in the arrest of eight persons and the seizure of a cache of weapons. The 
informant also furnished information resulting in the location and confiscation by 
Bureau agents of approximately fifty sticks of dynamite available to the Black 
Panther Party which likely resulted in the saving of lives and the prevention of 
property damage. (Joseph Deegan testimony, 2/13/76, p. 54) 

*^ Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 115. 

^^ Katzenbach testified that the case "could not have been solved without 
acquiring informants who were highly placed members of the Klan." (Katzen- 
bach, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 215.) 

*' Date and address deleted at FBI request so as not to reveal informant's 

*^ Memorandum, from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, re : Women's 
Liberation Movement, 5/28/69, p. 2. 

*® Names deleted for security reasons. 

^ Names deleted for security reasons. 

" Names and addresses deleted for security reasons. 

68-786 0-76-14 


Informants were instructed to report "everything" they knew about 
a group to the FBI. 

... to go to meetings, write up reports ... on what hap- 
pened, who was there ... to try to totally identify the 
background of everj^ person there, what their relationships 
were, who they were living with, who they were sleeping 
with, to try to get some sense of the local structure and the 
local relationships among the people in the organization.^^ 

Another intelligence informant described his mission as "total report- 
ing." Rowe testified that he reported "anything and everything I 
observed or heard" pertaining to any member of the group he infil- 

Even where intelligence informants are used to infiltrate groups 
where some members are suspected of violent acti\dty, the nature of 
the intelligence mission results in governmental intrusion into matters 
irrelevant to that inquiry. The FBI Special Agents who directed an 
intelligence informant in the Ku Klux Klan testified that the 

. . . furnished us information on the meetings and the 
thoughts and feelings, intentions and ambitions, as best he 
knew them, of other members of the Klan, both the rank and 
file and the leaderehip.^^ 

Intelligence informants also report on other groups — not the sub- 
ject of intelligence investigations — which merely associate with, or 
are even opposed to, the targeted group. For example, an FBI in- 
formant in the VVAW had the following exchange with a member of 
the Committee : 

Senator Hart (Mich.). . . . did you report also on groups 
and individuals outside the [VVAW]. such as other peace 
groups or individuals who were opposed to the war whom you 
came in contact with because they were cooperating with the 
[^^^AW] in connection with protest demonstrations and 
petitions ? 

Ms. Cook. ... I ended up reporting on groups like the 
United Church of Christ. American Civil Liberties Union, the 
National Lawyers Guild, liberal church organizations 
[which] quite often went into coalition with the VVAW.^^ 

This informant reported the identities of an estimated 1,000 in- 
dividuals to the FBI, although the local chapter to which she was 
assigned had onlv 55 regular members.^*' Similarly, an FBI infor- 
mant in the Ku Klux Klan reported on the activities of civil rights 
and black groups that he observed in the course of his work in the 

In short, the intelligence informant technique is not a precise instru- 
ment. By its nature, it extends far beyond the sphere of proper govern- 

^ Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 111. 
^' Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings. Vol. 6, p. 116. 
" Special Agent, 11/21/75, p. 7. 
^ Cook, 12/2/75. Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 119, 120. 
^ Cook, 12/2/75. Hearings, Vol. 6. p. 120. 
^' Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 116. 


mental interest and risks governmental monitoring of the private lives 
and the constitutionally-protected activity of Americans. Nor is the 
intelligence informant technique used infrequently. As reflected in 
the statistics described above, FBI intelligence investigations are 
in large part conducted through the use of informants; and FBI 
agents are instructed to "develop reliable informants at all levels and 
in all segments'' of groups under investigation.^^ 

6. Other Dangers in the Intelligence Informunt Technique 

In the absence of clear guidelines for informant conduct. FBI paid 
and directed intelligence informants have participated in violence and 
other illegal activities and have taken membership lists and other 
private documents. 

1. Participation in Violence and Other Illegal Activity 

The Committee's investigation has revealed that there is often a 
fundamental dilemma in the use of intelligence informants in violent 
organizations. The Committee recognizes that intelligence informants 
in such groups have sometimes played essential roles in the enforce- 
ment of the criminal law. At the same time, however, the Committee 
has found that the intelligence informant technique carries with it 
the substantial danger that informants will participate in, or provoke, 
violence or illegal activity. Intelligence informants are frequently 
infiltrated into groups for long-term reporting rather than to collect 
evidence for use in prosecutions. Consequently, intelligence informants 
must participate in the activity of the group they penetrate to preserve 
their cover for extended periods. Where the group is involved in 
violence or illegal activity, there is a substantial risk that the infor- 
ant must also become involved in this activity. As an FBI Special 
Agent who handled an intelligence informant in the Ku Klux Klan 
testified : "[you] couldn't be an angel and be a good informant. ''"^^ 

FBI officials testified that it is Bureau practice to instruct informants 
that they are not to engage in violence or unlawful activity and, if 
they do so, they may be prosecuted. FBI Deputy Associate Director 
Adams testified : 

... we have informants who have gotten involved in the 
violation of the law, and we have immediately converted their 
status from an informant to the subject, and have prosecuted, 
I would say, offhand . . . around 20 informants.^" 

The Committee finds, however, that the existing guidelines dealing 
with informant conduct do not adequately ensure that intelligence 
informants stay within the law in carrying out their assignments. 
The FBI Manual of Instructions contain no provisions governing 
informant conduct. While FBI employee conduct regulations pro- 
hibit an FBI agent from directing informants to engage in violent 
or other illegal activity, informants themselves are not governed by 
these regulations since the FBI does not consider them as FBI 

^ FBI Manual, Section 107 c (3) . 
^ Special Agent. 11/21/75, p. 12. 
*» Adams, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 150. 


In the absence of clear and precise written provisions directly appli- 
cable to informants, FBI intellio;ence informants have engaged in vio- 
lent and other illegal activity. For example, an FBI intelligence in- 
formant who penetrated the Kii Klux Klan and reported on its 
activities for over five years testified that on a number of occassions he 
and other Klansmen had "beaten people severely, had boarded buses 
and kicked people off ; had went in restaurants and beaten them with 
blackjacks, chains, pistols." *^^ This informant described how he had 
taken part in Klan attacks on Freedom Riders at the Birmingham, 
Alabama, bus depot, where "baseball bats, clubs, chains and pistols" 
were used in beatings.^^ 

Although the FBI Special Agents who directed this informant in- 
structed him that he was not to engage in violence, it was recognized 
that there was a substantial risk that he would become a participant 
in violent activity. 

As one of the Agents testified : 

... it is kind of difficult to tell him that we would like you to be 
there on deck, observing, be able to give us information and 
still keep yourself detached and uninvolved and clean, and 
that was the problem that we constantly had.*'^ 

In another example, an FBI intelligence informant penetrated 
"right wing" groups operating in California under the names "The 
Minutemen" and "The Secret Army Oroganization.'' The informant 
reported on the activities of these "right wing" paramilitary groups 
for a period of five years but was also involved in acts of violence or 
destruction. In addition, the informant actually rose to a position of 
leadership in the SAO and became an innovator of various harass- 
ment actions. For example, he admittedlv participated in firebombing 
of an automobile and was present, conducting a "surveillance" of a 
professor at San Diego State University, when his associate and 
subordinate in the SAO took out a gun and fired into the home of the 
professor, wounding a young woman.*'* 

An FBI intelligence informant in a group of antiwar protesters 
planning to break into a draft board claimed to have provided tech- 
nical instruction and materials that were essential to the illegal break- 
testified to the committee : 

Everything they learned about breaking into a building or 
climbing a wall or cutting glass or destroying lockers, I taught 
them. I got sample equipment, the type of windows that we 
would go through, I picked up off the job and taught them how 
to cut the slass, how to drill holes in the glass so you cannot 
hear it and stuff like that, and the FBI supplied me with the 
equipment needed. The stuff I did not have, the [the FBI] got 
off their own agents. ^^ 

The Committee finds that where informants are paid and directed 
by a government agency, the government has a responsibility to 

" Rowe deposition, 10/17/75. p. 12. 
«- Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 118. 
** Special Agent, 11/21/75, pp. 16-17. 

'* JMemorandum from the FBI to Senate Select Committee, 2/26/76, with 

"" Hardy, 9/29/75, pp. 16-17. 


impose clear restrictions on their conduct. Unwritten practice or gen- 
eral provisions aimed at persons other than the informants themselves 
are not sufficient. In the investigation of violence or illegal activity, it 
is essential that the government not be implicated in such activity. 

2. Mefnhership Lists and Other Private Documents Ohtained hy the 
Government Through InteJligem.ce Infoi-munts 

The Committee finds that there are inadequate guidelines to regulate 
the conduct of intelligence informants with respect to private and 
confidential documents, such as membership lists, mailing lists and 
papers relating to legal matters. The Fourth Amendment provides 
that citizens shall be ""secure in their . . . papers and effects, against 
unreasonable searches and seizures'' and requires probable cause to 
believe there has been a violation of law before a search warrant may 
issue. Moreover the Supreme Court, in NAACP v. AJahama,^^ held 
that the First Amendment's protections of speech, assembly and group 
association did not permit a state to compel the production of the 
membership list of a group engaged in lawful activity. The Court dis- 
tinguished the case where a state was able to demonstrate a "control- 
ling justification'' for such lists by showing a group's activities in- 
volved "acts of unlawful intimidation and violence." *"^'' 

There are no provisions in the FBI ]Manual which preclude the 
FBI from obtaining private and confidential documents through 
intelligence informants. The ^Manual does prohibit informant report- 
ing of "any information pertaining to defense plans or strategy," but 
the FBI interprets this as applying only to privileged communications 
between an attorney and client in connection with a specific court 

The Committee's investigation has shown that, the FBI, through 
its intelligence informants and sources, has sought to obtain member- 
ship lists and other confidential documents of groups and individuals.^® 
For example, one FBI Special Agent testified : 

I remember one evening . . . [an informant] called my 
home and said I will meet you in a half an hour ... I have 
a complete list of everybody that I have just taken out of the 
files, but I have to have it back within such a length of time. 

Well, naturally I left home and met him and had the list 
duplicated forthwith, and back in his possession and back in 
the files with nobody suspecting." '^^ 

Similarly, the FBI Special Agent who handled an intelligence 
informant in an antiwar group testified that he obtained confidential 
papers of the group which related to legal defense matters : 

"She brought back several things . . . various position papers 
taken by various legal defense groups, general statements 
of . . . the VVAW, legal thoughts on various trials, the 

*'3.57 U.S. 449 (1958). Similarly, in Bates v. Citij of Utile Rock. 361 U.S. 
516 (1960), the Supreme Court held compulsory disclosure of group membership 
lists was an imjustified interference with members' freedom of association. 

^^''Sei U.S. at 46.5. 

"' FBI Manual of Instructions, Section 107. 

■^ Surreptitious entry has also provided a means for the obtaining of such lists 
and other confidential documents. 

•" Special Agent, 11/19/75, pp. 10-11. 


Gainesville (Florida) 8 . . . the Camden (New Jersey) 
9 . . . various documents from all of these groups." '" 

This informant also testified that she took the confidential mailing 
list of the group she had penetrated and gave it to the FBI.'^ 

She also gave the FBI a legal manual prepared by the group's 
attorneys to guide lawyers in defending the group's members should 
they be arrested in connection with antiwar demonstrations or other 
political activity. ^^ Since this document was prepared as a general 
legal reference manual rather than in connection with a specific trial 
the FBI considered it outside the attorney-client privilege and not 
barred by the FBI Manual provision with respect to legal defense and 
strategy matters. 

For the government to obtain membership lists and other private 
documents pertaining to lawful and protected activities covertly 
through intelligence informants risks infringing rights guaranteed by 
the Constitution. The Committee .finds that there is a need for new 
guidelines for informant conduct with respect to the private papers of 
groups and individuals. 

c. Electronic Surveillance 
In the absence of judicial warrant, both the "traditional" forms of 
electronic surveillance practiced by the FBI — wiretapping and bug- 
ging — and the highly sophisticated form of electronic monitoring prac- 
ticed by NSA have been used to collect too much information about 
too many people. 

1. Wiretapping and Bugging 

Wiretaps and bugs are considered by FBI officials to be one of the 
most valuable techniques for the collection of information relevant to 
the Bureau's legitimate foreign counterintelligence mandate. W. Ray- 
mond Wannall, the former Assistant Director in charge of the FBI's 
Intelligence Division, stated that electronic surveillance assisted Bu- 
reau officials in making "decisions" as to operations against foreigners 
engaged in espionage. "It gives us leads as to persons . . . hostile intel- 
ligence services are trying to subvert or utilize in the United States, so 
certainly it is a valuable technique." ^^ 

Despite its stated value in foreign counterintelligence cases, how- 
ever, the dangers inherent in its use imply a clear need for rigorous 
controls. By their nature, wiretaps and bugs are incapable of a sur- 
gical precision that would permit intelligence agencies to overhear 
only the target's conversations. Since wiretaps are placed on particular 
telephones, anyone who uses a tapped phone — ^including members of 
the target's family — can be overheard. So, too, can everyone with 
whom the target (or anvone else using the target's telephone) commu- 
nicates.^* Microphones planted in the target's room or office inevitably 
intercept all conversations in a particular area: anyone conferring in 
the room or office, not just the target, is overheard. 

™ Special Agent, 11/20/75, pp. 15-16. 

" Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 112. 

■" Cook clepo.<?ition, 10/14/75, p. 36. 

''^ W. Raymond Wannall testimony. 10/21/75, p. 21. 

''^ Under the .Justice Department's procedures for Title III (court-ordered) 
wiretaps, however, the monitoring agent is obligated to turn off the recording 
equipment when certain privileged communications begin. Manual for conduct 
of Electronic Surveillance under Title III of Public Law 90-351, Sec. 8.1. 


The intrusiveness of these techniques has a second aspect as well. It 
is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to limit the interception to 
conversations that are relevant to the purposes for which the surveil- 
lance is placed. Virtually all conversations are overheard, no matter 
how trivial, personal, or political they might be. "\Mien the electronic 
surveillance target is a political figure who is likely to discuss political 
affairs, or a lawyer, who confers with his clients, the possibilities for 
abuse are obviously heightened. 

The dangei-s of indiscriminate interception are perhaps most acute 
in the case of microphones planted in locations such as bedrooms. 
When Attorney General Herbert Brownell gave the FBI sweeping au- 
thority to engage in microphone surveillances for intelligence pur- 
poses in 1954, he expressly permitted the Bureau to plant microphones 
in such locations if, in the sole discretion of the FBI, the facts war- 
ranted the installation." Acting under this general authority, for ex- 
ample, the Bureau installed no fewer than twelve bugs in hotel rooms 
occupied by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ' ^ 

The King surveillances which occurred between January 1964 and 
October 1965, were ostensibly approved within the FBI for internal 
securit}^ reasons, but they produced vast amounts of personal infor- 
mation that were totallj^ unrelated to any legitimate governmental 
interest; indeed, a single hotel room bug alone yielded twenty reels 
of tape that subsequently provided the basis for the dissemination 
of personal information about Dr. King throughout the Federal estab- 
lishment."*'^ Significantly, FBI internal memoranda with respect to 
some of the installations make clear that they were planted in Dr. 
King's hotel rooms for the express purpose of obtaining personal in- 
formation about him." 

Extremely personal information about the target, his family, and 
his friends, is easily obtained from wiretaps as well as microphones. 
This fact is clearly illustrated by the warrantless electronic surveil- 
lance of an American citizen who was suspected of leaking classified 
data to the press. A wiretap on this individual produced no evidence 
that he liad in fact leaked any stories or documents, but among the 
items of information that the FBI did obtain from the tap (and de- 
livered in utmost secrecy to the "\"\niite House) were the following : that 
"meat was ordered [by the target's family] from a grocer;" that the 
target's daughter had a toothache ; that the target needed grass clip- 
pings for a compost heap he was building; and that during a telephone 
conversation between the target's wife and a friend the "matters dis- 
cussed were milk bills, hair, soap operas, and church." ''^ 

''^ Memorandum from the Attorney General to the Director. FBI. 5/20/54. 

™ Three additional bui^s were planted in Dr. King's hotel rooms in 1965 after 
the standards for "n-iretapping and microphone .surveillance became identical. 
According to FBI memoranda, apparently initiated by Katzenbach. Attorney 
General Nicholas Katzenbach was given after the fact notification that these 
three surveillances of Dr. King had occurred. See p. 273, and the King Re- 
port, Sec. IV. for further details. 

^^ Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardener to W. C. Sullivan, 3/26/64. 

" For example, memorandum from Baumgardner to W. C. Sullivan, 2/4/64. 

" FBI memoranda. Identifying details are being withheld by the Select Com- 
mittee of privacy considerations. Even the FBI realized that this type of 
information was unrelated to criminnl activity or national security: for the last 
four months of this surveillance, most of the summaries that were disseminated 
to the White House began, "The following is a summary of nonpertinent informa- 
tion concerning captioned individual as of . . ." 


The so-called "seventeen" wiretaps on journalists and government 
employees, which collectively lasted from May 1969 to Febniaiy 1971, 
also illustrate the intrusiveness of electronic surveillance. According 
to former President Nixon, these taps produced "just gobs of material : 
gossip and bull." ^^ FBI summaries of information obtained from the 
wiretaps and disseminated to the White House, suggest that the former 
Presidents private evaluation of them was correct. This wiretapping 
program did not reveal the source of any leaks of classified data, which 
was its ostensible purpose, but it did generate a wealth of information 
about the personal lives of the targets — their social contacts, their 
vacation plans, their employment satisfactions and dissatisfaction, 
their marital problems, their drinking habits, and even their sex lives.^^ 

Among those who were incidentally overheard on one of these wire- 
taps was a currently sitting Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 
of the United States, who made plans to review a manuscript written 
by one of the targets.*^ Vast amounts of political information were also 
obtained from these wiretaps.^^ 

The "seventeen" wiretaps also exemplify the particularly acute 
problems of wiretapping when the targeted individuals are involved 
in the domestic political process. These wiretaps produced vast amounts 
of purely political information,^- much of which was obtained from 
the home telephones of two consultants to Senator Edmund Muskie 
and other Democratic politicians. 

The incidental collection of political information from electronic 
surveillance is also shown bv a series of telephone and microphone 
surveillances conducted during the Kennedy administration. In an in- 
vestigation of the possibly unlawful attempts of representatives of a 
foreign country to influence congressional deliberations about sugar 
quota legislation in the early 1960s, Attorney General Robert Kennedy 
authorized a total of twelve warrantless wiretaps on foreign and do- 
mestic targets. Among the wiretaps of American citizens were two on. 
American lobbyists, three on executive branch officials, and two on a 
staff member of a House of Representatives' Committee.^^ A bug was 
also planted in the hotel room of a ITnited States Congressman, the 
Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Harold D. Cooley.®* 

Although this investigation was apparently initiated because of the 
Government's concern about future relations with the foreign coun- 
try involved and the possibility of bribery,®^ it is clear that the Ken- 

''^ Transcript of Presidential Tapes. 2/28/73 (House Judiciary Committee State- 
ment of Information, Book VII, Part 4, p. 1754). 

^° For example, letters from Hoover to the Attorney General, 7/25/69, and 
7/.31/6f>: letters from Hoover to H. R. Haldeman, 6/25/70. 

■" Letter from Hoover to Haldeman. 6/25/70. 

*^ Examples of such information are listed in the finding on Political Abuse, "The 
'17' wiretaps." 

^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 2/14/61 ; 
Memorandum from .T. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 2/16/61 ; Memo- 
randum from .J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 6/26/62 ; Memorandum 
from Wannall to W. C. Sullivan. 12/22/66. 

•* Memorandum from D. E. Moore to A. H. Belmont, 2/16/61. 

^ Memorandum from W. R. Wannall to W. C. Sullivan, 12/22/66; Memorandum 
from A. H. Belmont to Mr. Parsons, 2/14/61. This investigation did discover 
that representatives of a foreign nation were attempting to influence Congres- 
sional deliberations, but it did not reveal that money was being passed to any 
member of Congress or Congressional staff aide. 


nedy administration was politically interested in the outcome of the 
sugar quota legislation as well.^^ Given the nature of the techniques 
used and of the targets they were directed against, it is not surprising 
that a great deal of potentially useful political information was gen- 
erated from these '"Sugar Lobby" surveillances.^' 

The highly intrusive nature of electronic surveillance also raises 
special problems when the targets are lawyers and journalists. Over 
the past two decades there have been a number of wiretaps placed on 
the office telephones of lawyers.^* In the Sugar Lobby investigation, 
for example, Eobert Kennedy authorized wiretaps on ten telephone 
lines of a single law firm.^° All of these lines were apparently used by 
the one lawyer who was a target and presumably by other attorneys in 
the firm as well. Such wiretaps represent a serious threat to the attor- 
ney-client privilege, because once they are instituted they are capable 
of detecting all conversations between a lawyer and his clients, even 
those relating to pending criminal cases. 

Since 1960, at least six American journalists and newsmen have also 
been the targets of warrantless wiretaps or bugs.^^ These surveillances 
were all rationalized as necessary to discover the source of leaks of 
classified information, but, since wiretaps and bugs are indiscriminate 
in the types of information collected, some of these taps revealed the 
attitudes of various newsmen toward certain politicians and supplied 
advance notice of forthcoming newspaper and magazine articles deal- 
ing with administration policies. The collection of information such 
as this, and the precedent set by wiretapping of newsmen, generally, 
inevitably tends to undermine the constitutional guarantee of a free 
and independent press. 

2. NSA Monitoring 

The National Security Agency (NSA) has the capability to monitor 
almost any electronic communication which travels through the air. 
This means that NSA is capable of intercepting a telephone call or 
even a telegram, if such call or telegram is transmitted at least par- 
tially through the air. Radio transmissions, a fortiori^ are also within 
NSA's reach. 

Since most communications today — to an increasing extent even 
domestic communications — are, at some point, transmitted through the 
air, XSA's potential to violate the privacy of American citizens is un- 
matched by any other intelligence agency. Furthermore, since the inter- 
ception of electronic signals entails neither the installation of electronic 
surveillance devices nor the cooperation of private communications 
companies, the possibility that such interceptions will be undetected 
is enhanced. 

NSA has never turned its monitoring apparatus upon entirely do- 
mestic communications, but from the early 1960s until 1973, it did inter- 

** Memorandum from Wannall to W. C. Sullivan, 12/22/66. 

*'' See Finding on Political Abuse, p. 233. 

^ Electronic Surveillance Report : Sec. II, "Presidential and Attorney General 

~ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 6/26/62. 

^'^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General 6/29/61 ; memo- 
randum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General 7/31/62 ; memorandum 
from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General 4/19/65 ; memorandum from J. Ed- 
gar Hoover to the Attorney General 6/4/69 ; memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover 
to the Attorney General 9/10/69 ; letter from W. C. Sullivan to J. Edgar Hoover 


cept the international communications of American citizens, without a 
warrant, at the request of other federal agencies. 

Under current practice, NSA does not target any American citizen 
or firm for the purpose of intercepting their foreign communications. 
As a result of monitoring international links of coimnunication, how- 
ever, it does acquire an enormous number of communications to, from, 
or about American citizens and firms.^^ 

As a practical matter, most of the communications of American citi- 
zens or firms acquired by NSA as incidental to its foreign intelligence- 
gathering process are destroyed upon recognition as a communication 
to or from an American citizen. But other such communications, which 
bear upon NSA's foreign intelligence requirements, are processed, and 
information obtained from them are used in NSA's reports to other 
intelligence agencies. Current practice precludes NSA from identify- 
ing American citizens and firms by name in such reports. Nonetheless, 
the practice does result in NSA's disseminating information derived 
from the international communications of American citizens and firms 
to the intelligence agencies and policymakers in the federal 

In his dissent in Ohnstead v. United Sfates^^^ which held that the 
Fourth Amendment warrant requirement did not apply to the seizure 
of conversations by means of wiretapping. Justice Louis D. Brandeis 
expressed grave concern that new technologies might outstrip the 
ability of the Constitution to protect American citizens. He wrote : 

Subtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy 
have become available to the government . . . (and) the prog- 
ress of science in furnishing the Government with means of 
espionage is not likely to stop with wiretapping. Ways may 
some day be developed by which the Government, without 
removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in 
court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the 
most intimate occurrences of the home .... Can it be that the 
Constitution affords no protection against such invasions of 
individual security ? 

The question posed by Justice Brandeis applies with obvious force to 
the technological developments that allow NSA to monitor an enor- 
mous number of communications each year. His fears were firmly 
based, for in fact no warrant was ever obtained for the inclusion of 
1200 American citizens on NSA's "Watch List" between the early 
1960s and 1973, and none is obtained today for the dissemination with- 
in the intelligence community of information derived from the inter- 
national communications of American citizens and firms. In the face 
of this new technology, it is well to remember the answer Justice 
Brandeis gave to his OAvn question. Quoting from Boyd v. United 
States, 116 U.S. 616, he wrote : 

It is not the breaking of his doors, and the rummaging of his 
drawers that constitutes the essense of the offense; but it is 
the invasion of his indefeasible right of personal security, per- 
sonal liberty, and private property . . .^*^ 

^ NSA has long: asserted that it had the authority to do this so long as one of 
the parties 'ro such commimipntion was located in a foreign country. 
^ 277 U.S. 438, 473-474 (1928) . 
*"* 277 U.S. at 474-475. 


D. Mail Opening 

By ignoring the legal prohibitions against warrantless mail open- 
ing, the CIA and the FBI were able to obtain access to the written com- 
munications of hundreds of thousands of individuals, a large propor- 
tion of whom were American citizens. The intercepted letters were 
presumably sealed with the expectation that they would only be 
opened by the party to whom they were addressed, but intelligence 
agents in ten cities throughout the United States surreptitiously 
opened the seal and photographed the entire contents for inclusion in 
their intelligence files. 

Mail opening is an imprecise technique. In addition to relying on 
a "Watch List" of names, the CIA opened vast numbers of letters on 
an entirely random basis ; as one agent who opened mail in the CIA's 
New York project testified, "You never knew what you would hit." ^^ 
Given the imprecision of the technique and the large quantity of cor- 
respondence that was opened, it is perhaps not surprising that during 
the twenty year course of the Agency's New York project, the mail 
that was randomly opened included that of at least three United 
States Senators and a Congressman, one Presidential Candidate, and 
numerous educational, business, and ciWl rights leaders.^^ 

Several of the FBI pix)grams utilized as selection criteria certain 
"indicatore" on the outside of envelopes that suggested that the com- 
munication mig'ht be to or from a foreign espionage agent. These 
"indicatoi's" Avere more refined than the "shotgim approach" ^^ which 
characterized the CIA's New York project, and they did lead to the 
identification of three foreign spies.^^ But even by the Bureau's own 
accounting, it is clear that the mail of hundreds of innocent American 
Citizens was opened and read for every successful counterintelligence 
lead that was obtained by means of "indicators." ^^ 

Large volumes of mail were also intercepted and opened in other 
FBI mail programs that were based not on indicators but on far less 
precise criteria. Two programs that involved the opening of mail to 
and from an Asian country, for example, used "letters to or from a 
university, scientific, or technical facility" as one selection criterion.^"" 
According to FBI memoranda, an average of 50 to 100 letters per day 
was opened and photographed during the ten years in which one of 
these two programs operated.^°^ 

*" "CIA Officer" testimony, 9/30/75, p. 15. 

®* Staff summary of "Master Index." review, 9/5/75. 

*^James Angelton testimony, 9/17/75, p. 28. 

"^ Wannall. 10/21/75, p. 5. 

** In one of the programs based on "indicators" a participating agent testified 
that he opened 30 to 60 letters each day. (FBI agent statement, 9/10/75, p. 23.) In 
a second such program, a total of 1.011 letters were opened in one of the six cities 
in which it operated ; statistics on the number of letters opened in the other 
five cities cannot be reconstructed. (W. Raymond Wannall testimony. 10/21/75, 
p. 5. ) In a third such project. 2.350 letters were opened in one city and statistics 
for the other two cities in which it operated are unavailable. (Memorandum from 
W. A. Branisran to "W. C. Sullivan, 8/31/61 ; Memorandum from Mr. Branigan 
to Mr. Sullivan. 12/21/61 ; memorandum from New York Field OflSce to FBI 
Headquarters, 3A5/62.) 

"^ Letter from the FBI to the Senate Select Committee. 10/29/75. Six other 
criteria were used in these programs. See Mail Opening Report, Sec. IV. 

"^ Memorandum from S. B. Donohoe to A. H. Belmont. 2/23/61 : Memorandum 
from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/11/60. Statistics relat- 
ing to the number of letters opened in the other program which used this cri- 
terion cannot be reconstructed. 


E. Surreptitious Entries 

Surreptitious entries, conducted in violation of the law, have also 
permitted intelligence agencies to galther a wide range of information 
about American citizens and domestic organization as well as foreign 
targets.^"^ By definition this technique involves a physical entry into 
the private premises of individuals and groups. Once intelligence 
agents are inside, no "papers or effects" are secure. As the Huston 
Plan recommendations stated in 1970, "It amounts to burglary." ^"^ 

The most private documents are rendered vulnerable by the use of 
surreptitious entries. According to a 1966 internal FBI memorandum, 
which discusses the use of this technique against domestic 
organizations : 

[The FBI has] on numerous occasions been able to obtain 
material held highly secret and closely guarded by subversive 
groups and organizations which consisted of membership 
lists and mailing lists of these organizations.^"* 

A specific example cited in this memorandum also reveals the types 
of information that this technique can collect and the uses to which 
the information thus collected may be put : 

Through a "black bag" job, we obtained the records in the 
possession of three high-ranking officials of a Klan organiza- 
tion. , . . These records gave us the complete membership 
and financial information concerning the Klan's operation 
which we have been using most effectively to disrupt the 
organization and, in fact, to bring about its near 
disintegration. ^°^ 

Unlike techniques such as electronic surveillance, government 
entries into private premises were familiar to the Founding Fathers. 
"Indeed," Judge Gesell wrote in the Ehrllchmmi case, "the American 
Revolution was sparked in part by the complaints of the colonists 
against the issuance of writs of assistance, pursuant to which the King's 
revenue officers conducted unrestricted, indiscriminate searches of 
persons and homes to uncover contraband." '^°^ Recognition of the 
intrusiveness of government break-ins was one of the primary reasons 

"* According to the FBI, "there were at least 239 surreptitious entries (for 
purposes other than microphone installation) conducted against at least fifteen 
domestic subversive targets from 1942 to April 196S. ... In addition, at least 
three domestic subversive targets were the subject of numerous entries from 
October 1952 to June 1966." (FBI memorandum to the Senate Select Committee, 
10/13/76.) One target, the Socialist Workers Party, was the subject of possibly 
as many as 92 break-ins by the FBI, between 1960 and 1966 alone. The home of 
at least one SWP member was also apparently broken into. (Sixth Supplementary 
Response to Requests for Production of Documents of Defendant, Director of 
the FBI, Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General, 73 Civ. 3160, (SDNY), 
3/24/76.) An entry against one "white hate group" was also reported by the 
FBI. (Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to the Senate Select Committee, 

^•"Memorandum from Tom Huston to H. R. Haldeman, 7/70, p. 3. 

"* Memorandum from W. C. Sullivan to C. D. DeLoach, 7/19/66. 

"' Ibid. 

^^ United States v. Ehrlicliman, 376 F. Supp. 29, 32 (D.D.C. 1974). 


for the subsequent adoption of the Fourth Amendment in 1791,^°^ and 
this technique is certainly no less intrusive today. 

Sub funding (c) 

The imprecision and manipulation of labels such as "national se- 
curity," "domestic security," "subversive activities" and "foreign in- 
telligence" have led to unjustified use of these techniques. 

Using labels such as "national security" and "foreign intelligence", 
intelligence agencies have directed these highly intrusive techniques 
against individuals and organizations who were suspected of no 
criminal activity and who posed no genuine threat to the national 
security. In the absence of precise standards and effective outside 
control, the selection of American citizens as targets has at times been 
predicated on grounds no more substantial than their lawful protests 
or their non-conformist philosophies. Almost any connection with any 
perceived danger to the country has sufficed. 

The application of the "national security" rationale to cases lacking 
a substantial national security basis has been most apparent in the 
area of warrantless electronic surveillance. Indeed, the unjustified use 
of wiretaps and bugs under this and related labels has a long history. 
Among the wiretaps approved by Attorney General Francis Biddle 
under the standard of "persons suspected of subversive activities," for 
example, was one on the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce in 1941.^°^ 
This was approved in spite of his comment to J. Edgar Hoover that the 
target organization had "no record of espionage at this time." ^°^ 
In 1945, Attorney General Tom Clark authorized a wiretap on a 
former aide to President Roosevelt."" According to a memorandum 
by J. Edgar Hoover, Clark stated that President Truman wanted "a 
very thorough investigation" of the activities of the former official so 
that "steps might be taken, if possible, to see that [his] activities did 
not interfere with the proper administration of government." "^ 
The memorandum makes no reference to "subversive activities" or 
any other national security considerations. 

The "Sugar Lobby" and Martin Luther King, Jr., wiretaps in the 
early 1960s both show the elasticity of the "domestic security" stand- 
ard which supplemented President Roosevelt's "subversive activities" 
formulation. Among those wiretapped in the Sugar Lobby investiga- 
tion, as noted above, was a Congressional staff aide. Yet the documen- 
tary record of this investigation reveals no evidence indicating that 
the target herself represented any threat to the "domestic security." 
Similarly, while the FBI may properly have been concerned with the 
activities of certain advisors to Dr. King, the direct wiretapping of 
Dr. King shows that the "domestic security" standard could be 
stretched to unjustified lengths. 

The microphone surveillances of Congressman Cooley and Dr. King 
under the "national interest" standard established by Attorney Gen- 
eral Brownell in 1954 also reveal the relative ease with which elec- 
tronic bugging devices could be used against American citizens who 

'*" See. e.g.. Olm.9tead v. ZTnited States. 277 U.S. 438, (1928). 
^"^ Memorandum from Francis Biddle to Mr. Hoover, 11/19/41. 
^■^ Ibid. 

"" Unaddressed Memorandum from J. Edsrar Hoover, 11/15/45, found in 
Director Hoover's "OflScial and Confidential" files. 
^^ Ibid. 


posed no genuine "national security" threat. Neither of these targets 
advocated or engaged in any conduct that was damaging to the 
security of the United States. 

In April, 1964, Attorney General Robert Kennedy approved "tech- 
nical coverage (electronic surveillance)" of a black nationalist leader 
after the FBI advised Kennedy that he was "forming a new group" 
which would be "more aggressive" and would "participate in racial 
demonstrations and civil rights activities." The only indication of 
possible danger noted in the FBI's request for the wiretaps, however, 
was that this leader had "recommended the possession of firearms by 
members for their self-protection."^ 

One year later, Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach approved a 
wiretap on the offices of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Com- 
mittee on the basis of potential communist infiltration into that organi- 
zation. The request which was sent to the Attorney General noted that 
"confidential informants" described SNCC as "Ihe principal target 
for Communist Party infiltration among the various civil rights 
organizations" and stated that some of its leaders had "made public 
appearances with leaders of communist-front organizations" and had 
"subversive backgrounds." "^ The FBI presented no substantial evi- 
dence however, that SNCC was in fact infiltrated by communists — only 
that the organization was apparently a target for such infiltration in 
the future. 

After the Justice Department adopted new criteria for the institu- 
tion of warrantless electronic surveillance in 1968, the unjustified use 
of wiretaps continued. In November 1969, Attorney General John 
Mitchell approved a series of three wiretaps on organizations involved 
in planning the antiwar "March on Washington." The FBI's request 
for coverage of the first group made no claim that its members en- 
gaged or were likely to engage in violent activity: the request was 
simply based on the statement that the anticipated size of the dem- 
onstration was cause for "concern should violence of anv tvpe break 
out." "* 

The only additional justification given for the wiretap on one of the 
other groups, the Vietnam Moratorium Committee, was that it "has 
recently endorsed fully the activities of the [first group] concerning 
the upcoming antiwar demonstrations." ^^^ 

In 1970, approval for a wiretap on a "New Left oriented campus 
group" was granted by Attorney General Mitchell on the basis of an 
FBI request which included, among other factors deemed relevant to 
the necessity for the wiretap, evidence that the group was attempting 
"to develop strong ties with the cafeteria, maintenance and other 
workers on campus" and wanted to "go into industry and factories 
and . . . take the radical politics they learned on the campus and spread 
them among factory workers." ^^® 

^"^ Memorandum from J. Ed^ar Hoover to the Attorney General. 4/1/64. 

"* Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General. 6/15/6.5. 

"* Memorandum from .T. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General. 11/5/69. 
"^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Mitchell. 11/7/69. 

'" Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 3/16/70. The 
strongest evidence that this group's conduct was inimical to the national security 
was reported as follows : 

"The [group] is dominated and controlled hy the pro-Chinese Marxist Leninist 
(excised). . . . 

"In carrying out the Marxist-Leninist ideology of the (excised) members have 
repeatedly sought to become involved in labor disputes on the side of labor, join 


This approval was renewed three months later despite the fact that 
the request for renewal made no mention of violent or illegal activity 
by the group. The value of the wiretap was shown, according to the 
FBI, by such results as obtaining "the identities of over 600 persons 
either in touch with the national headquarters or associated with" it 
during the preceding three months.^^" Six months after the original 
authorization the number of persons so identified had increased to 
1,428 ; and approval was granted for a third three-month period." ^^^ 

The "seventeen wiretaps" also show how the term "national secu- 
rity" as a justification for wiretapping can obscure improper use of 
this technique. Shortly after these wiretaps were revealed publicly, 
President Nixon stated they had been justified by the need to prevent 
leaks of classified information harmful to the national security.^^^ 

Wiretaps for this purpose had, in fact, been authorized under the 
Kennedy and Johnson administrations. President Nixon learned of 
these and other prior taps and, at a news conference, sought to justify 
the taps he had authorized by referring to past precedent. He stated 
that in the : 

period of 1961 to '63 there were wiretaps on news organiza- 
tions, on news peoj^le, on civil rights leaders and on other 
people. xAjid I think they were perfectly justified and I'm 
sure that President Kennedy and his brother, Robert Ken- 
nedy, would never have authorized them, unless he thought 
they were in the national interest. (Presidential News Con- 
ference, 8/22/73.) 

Thus, questionable electronic sur^^eillances by earlier administra- 
tions were put forward as a defense for improper surveillances ex- 
posed in 1973. In fact, however, two of these wiretaps were placed on 
domestic affairs advisers at the White House wlio had no foi'eign 
affairs responsibilities and apparently no access to classified foreign 
policy materials.^^^ A third target was a "Wliite House speech writer 
who had been overheard on an existing tap agreeing to provide a re- 
porter with background information on a Presidential speech con- 

picket lines and engage in disruptive and sometimes violent tactics against indus- 
try recruiters on college campuses. . . . 

"This faction is currently very active in many of the major demonstrations and 
student violence on college campuses. . . ." (Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover 
to the Attorney General, 3/16/70. The excised words have been deleted bv the 

'" Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 6/16/70. Th*^ 
only other results noted by Hoover related to the fact that the wiretap had 
"obtained information concerning the activities of the national headquarters of 
[the group and] plans for [the group's] support and participation in demon- 
strations supporting antiwar groups and the (excised)." It was also noted that 
the wiretap "revealed . . . contacts with Canadian student elements". 

'" ^Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 9/16/70. The 
only other results noted by Hoover again related to obtaining information about 
the "plans and activities" of the group. Specifically mentioned were the "plans 
for the Xationnl Interim Committee (ruling Itody of [excised]) meeting which 
took place in New York and Chicago", and the plans "for demonstrations at 
San Francisco. Detroit, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, and Chicago." There was no 
indication that these demonstrations were expected to be violent. (The excised 
words have lieen deleted by the FBI) . 

"^ Public statement of President Nixon, .5/22/73. 

'^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General 7/23/69 ; 
memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney GJeneral 12/14/70. 


ceming domestic revenue sharing and welfare reform.^^^ The 
reinstatement of another wiretap in this series was requested by H. R. 
Haldeman simply because "they may have a bad apple and have to 
get him out of the basket," ^"^ The last four requests in this series 
that were sent to the Attorney General (including the requests for a 
tap on the "bad apple") did not mention any national security justifi- 
cation at all. As former Deputy Attorney General William Ruckels- 
haus has testified : 

I think some of the individuals who were tapped, at least to 
the extent I have reviewed the record, had very little, if any, 
relationship to any claim of national security . , , I think 
that as the program proceeded and it became clear to those 
who could sign off on taps how easy it was to institute a wire- 
tap under the present procedure that these kinds of considera- 
tions [i.e,, genuine national security justifications] were con- 
siderably relaxed as the program went on,^^* 

None of the "seventeen" wiretaps was ever reauthorized by the 
Attorney General, although 10 of them remained in operation for 
periods longer than 90 days and although President Nixon himself 
stated privately that "[t]he tapping was a very, very unproductive 
thing , . . it's never been useful to any operation I've conducted . . ." ^^^ 

In short, warrantless electronic surveillance has been defended on the 
ground that it was essential for the national security, but the history 
of the use of this technique clearly shows that the imprecision and 
manipulation of this and similar labels, coupled with the absence of 
any outside scrutiny, has led to its improper use against American 
citizens who posed no criminal or national security threat to the 
count ry,^^® 

Similarly, the terms "foreign intelligence" and "counterespionage" 
were used by the CIA and the FBI to justify their cooperation in the 
CIA's New York mail opening project, but this project was also used to 
target entirely innocent American citizens. 

As noted above, the CIA compiled a "Watch List" of names of per- 
sons and organizations whose mail was to be opened if it passed through 
the New York facility. In the early days of the project, the names 
on this list — which then numbered fewer than twentv — miffht reason- 

^ Memorandum from W. C. Sullivan to C. D. DeLoach, 8/1/69. 

^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Messrs. Tolson, Sullivan and D. C. 
Brennan. 10/15/70. 

"* Ruckelshaus testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative 
Practice and Procedure. 5/9/74, pp. 311-12. 

^Transcript of the Presidential Tapes, 2/28/73 (House Judiciary Committee 
Statement of Information Book VII, Part W, p. 17.54.) 

^ The term "national security" was also used by John Ehrlichman and Charles 
Colson to .instify their roles in the break-in of Dr. Fielding's office in 1971. A 
March 21, 1973 tape recording of a meeting between President Nixon. .John Dean, 
and H. R. Haldeman suggests, however, that the national security "justification" 
may have been developed long after the event for the purpose of obscuring its im- 
propriety. When the President asked what could be done if the break-in was 
revealed publicly. John Dean suggested, "You might put it on a national security 
grounds basis." Later in the conversation. President Nixon stated "With the 
bombing thing coming out and everything coming out. the whole thing was 
national security," and Dean said, "I think we could get by on that." (Transcript 
of Presidential tapes, 3/21/73. ) 


ably have been expected to lead to genuine foreign intelligence or 
counterintelligence information. But as the project developed, the 
Watch List grew and its focus changed. By the late 1060s there were 
approximately 600 names on the list, many of them American citizens 
and organizations who were engaged in purely lawful and consti- 
tutionally protected forms of protest against governmental policies. 
Among the domestic organizations on the Watch List, which was 
supplemented by submissions from the FBI, were : Clergy and Laymen 
Concerned about Vietnam, the National Mobilization Committee to 
End the War in Vietnam, Rmnparts^ the Student Non-Violent Coordi- 
nating Committee, the Center for the Study of Public Policy, and the 
American Friends Service Committee.^^^ 

The FBI levied more general requirements on the CIA's project as 
well. The focus of the original categories of correspondence in which 
the FBI expressed an interest was clearly foreign counterespionage, 
but subsequent requirements became progressively more domestic in 
their focus and progressively broader in their scope. The requirements 
that were levied by the FBI in 1972, one year before the termination of 
the project, included the following : 

". . . [pjersons on the Watch List; known communists, New 
Left activists, extremists, and other subversives . . . 

Communist party and front organizations . . . extremist and 
New Left organizations. 

Protest and peace organizations, such as People's Coalition 
for Peace and Justice, National Peace Action Committee, and 
Women's Strike for Peace. 

Communists, Trotskyites and members of other Marxist- 
Leninist, subversive and extremist groups, such as the Black 
Nationalists and Liberation groups . . . Students for a Demo- 
cratic Society . . . and other New Left groups. 

Traffic to and from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands 
showing anti-U.S. or subversive sympathies." ^^^ 

This final set of requirements evidently reflected the domestic turmoil 
of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The mail opening program that began 
as a means of collecting foreign intelligence information and dis- 
covering Soviet intelligence efforts in the United States had expanded 
to encompass detection of the activities of domestic dissidents of all 

In the absence of effective outside control, highly intrusive tech- 
niques have been used to gather vast amounts of information about the 
entirely lawful activities — and privately held beliefs — -of large num- 
bers of American citizens. The very intrusiveness of these techniques 
demands the utmost circumspection in their use. But with vague or 
non-existent standards to guide them, and with labels such as "national 
security" and "foreign intelligence" to shield them, executive branch 
officials have been all too willing to unleash these techniques against 
American citizens with little or no legitimate justification. 

"^ Staff summary of Watch List review, 9/5/75. 

"* Routing slip from J. Edgar Hoover to James Angelton {attachment) , 3/10/72. 

-786 O - 76 - 15 


Major Finding 

The Committee finds that covert action proo;rams have been used to 
disrupt the lawful political activities of individual Americans and 
groups and to discredit them, using dangerous and degrading tactics 
which are abhorrent in a free and decent society. 


(a) Although the claimed purposes of these action programs were 
to protect the national security and to prevent violence, many of the 
victims were concededly nonviolent, were not controlled by a foreign 
power, and posed no threat to the national security. 

(b) The acts taken interfered with the First Amendment rights of 
citizens. They were explicitly intended to deter citizens from joining 
groups, "neutralize" those who were already members, and prevent 
or inhibit the expression of ideas. 

(c) The tactics used against Americans often risked and some- 
times caused serious emotional, economic, or physical damage. Actions 
were taken which were designed to break up marriages, terminate 
funding or employment, and encourage gang warfare between violent 
rival groups. Due process of law forbids the use of such covert tactics, 
whether the victims are innocent law-abiding citizens or members of 
groups suspected of involvement in violence. 

,(d) The sustained use of such tactics by the FBI in an attempt to 
destroy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., violated the law and funda- 
mental human decency. 

Elaboration of the Findings 

For fifteen years from 1956 until 1971, the FBI carried out a series 
of covert action programs directed against American citizens.^ 
These "counterintelligence programs" (shortened to the acronym 
COINTELPRO) resulted in part from frustration with Supreme 
Court rulings limiting the Government's power to proceed overtly 
against dissident groups.^ 

^ Before 1956 the FBI engjaeed in activities to disrupt and discredit Communists 
and (before "World War II) Fascists, but not as part of a formal program. The 
Bureau is the only agency which carried on a sustained effort to "neutralize" 
domestic groups, althoiish other agencies made sporadic attempts to disrupt dis- 
sident groups. (See Military Surveillance Report ; IRS Report.) 

^ The Bureau personnel involved in COINTELPRO link the first formal coun- 
terintelligence program, against the Communist Party. USA. to the Supreme 
Court reversal of the Smith Act convictions, which "made it impossible to prose- 
cute Communist Party members at the time". (COINTELPRO imit chief, 
10/16/75, p. 14.) It should be noted, however, that the Court's reversal occurred 
in 1957. the year after the program was instituted. This belief in the deficiencies 
of the law was a major factor in the four subsequent programs as well : "The 
other COINTELPRO programs were opened as the threat arose in areas of 
extremism and subversion and there were not adequate statutes to proceed 
against the organization or to prevent their activities." (COINTELPRO Unit 
Chief, 10/16/75, p. 15.) 



They ended formally in 1971 with the threat of public exposure.^ 
Some of the findings discussed herein are related to the findings on 
lawlessness, overbreadth, and intrusive techniques previously set 
forth. Some of the most offensive actions in the FBI's COINTEL 
PRO programs (anonymous letters intended to break up marriages, or 
efforts to deprive people of their jobs, for example) were based upon 
the covert use of information obtained through overly-broad inves- 
tigations and intrusive techniques.* Similarly, as noted above, COIN- 
TELPRO involved specific violations of law, and the law and the 
Constitution were "not [given] a thought" under the FBI's policies.^ 

But COIXTELPRO was more than simply violating the law or 
the Constitution. In COINTELPRO the Bureau secretly « took the 
law into its own hands, going beyond the collection of intelligence and 
beyond its law enforcement function to act outside the legal process 
altogether and to covertly disrupt, discredit and harass groups and 
individuals. A law enforcement agency must not secretly usurp the 
functions of judge and jury, even when the investigation reveals crim- 
inal activity. But in COINTELPRO, the Bureau imposed summary 
punishment, not only on the allegedly \aolent, but also on the non- 
violent advocates of change. Such action is the hallmark of the vig- 
ilante and has no place in a democratic society. 

Under COINTELPRO, certain techniques the Bureau had used 
against hostile foreign agents were adopted for use against perceived 
domestic threats to the established political and social order.^ 

Some of the targets of COINTELPRO were law-abiding citizens 
merely advocating change in our society. Other targets were members 

* For further information on the termination of each of the programs, see The 
Accountability and Control Findings, p. 265 and the detailed reports on the Black 
Panther Party and COINTELPRO. 

Although the programs have been formally terminated, Bureau witnesses 
agree that there is a "grey area" between "counter-intelligence" and investiga- 
tive activities which are inherently disruptive. These investigative activities 
continue. ( See COINTELPRO Report : "Command and Control— The Problems of 

* Information gained from electronic surveillance, informant coverage, bur- 
glaries, and confidential financial records was used in COINTELPRO. 

p. 275.) 

= Moore, 11/3/75, p. 83. 

* Field oflSces were instructed that no one outside the Bureau was to know 
that COINTELPRO existed, although certain persons in the executive branch 
and in Congress were told about — and did not object to — efforts to disrupt the 
CPUSA and the Klan. However, no one was told about the other COINTELPRO 
programs, or about the more dangerous and degrading techniques employed. ( See 
p. 275.) 

^ As the Chief of the Racial Intelligence Section put it : 

"You can trace [the origin.s of COINTELPRO] up and back to foreign intel- 
ligence, particularly perretration of the group by the individual informant. Be- 
fore you can engage in counterintelligence you must have intelligence. ... If 
you have good intelligence and know what it's going to do. you can seed distrust, 
sow misinformation. The same technique is used, misinformation, disruption, 
is used in the domestic groups, although in the domestic groups you are dealing 
in '67 and '68 with many, many more across the country . . . than you had ever 
dealt with as far as your foreign groups." (Moore, 11/3/75, pp. 32-33.) 

Former Assistant Director William C. Sullivan atso testified that the "rough, 
tough, dirty business" of foreign counterintelligence was "brought home against 
anv organization against which we were targeted. We did not differentiate." 
(Sullivan, 11/1/75, pp. 97-98.) 


of groups that had been involved in violence, such as the Ku Klux 
Klan or the Black Panther Party. Some victims did nothing more than 
associate with targets.^ 

The Committee does not condone acts of violence, but the response 
of Government to allegations of illegal conduct must comply with the 
due process of law demanded by the Constitution. Lawlessness by 
citizens does not justify lawlessness by Government. 

The tactics which were employed by the Bureau are therefore 
unacceptable, even against the alleged criminal. The imprecision of 
the targeting compounded the abuse. Once the Government decided 
to take the law into its own hands, those unacceptable tactics came 
almost inevitably to be used not only against the "kid with the bomb" 
but also against the "kid with the bumper sticker." ® 

Subfinding {a) 

Although the claimed purposes of these action programs were 
to protect the "national security" and to prevent violence, many of 
the victims were concededly nonviolent, were not controlled by a 
foreign power, and posed no threat to the "national security." 

The Bureau conducted five "counterintelligence programs" aimed 
against domestic groups: the "Communist Party, USA" program 
(1956-71); the "Socialist Workers Party" program (1961-69); the 
"White Hate" program (1964-1971) ; the "Black Nationalist-Hate 
Group" program (1967-71) ; and the "New Left" program (1968-71). 

While the declared purposes of these programs were to protect the 
"national security" or prevent violence, Bureau witnesses admit that 
many of the targets were nonviolent and most had no connections 
with a foreign power. Indeed, nonviolent organizations and individ- 
uals were targeted because the Bureau believed they represented a 
"potential" for violence ^° and nonviolent citizens who were against 
the war in Vietnam were targeted because they gave "aid and comfort" 
to violent demonstrators by lending respectability to their cause.^^ 

The imprecision of the targeting is demonstrated by the inability 
of the Bureau to define the subjects of the programs. The Black 
Nationalist program, according to its supervisor, included "a great 
number of organizations that you might not today characterize as 
black nationalist but which were in fact primarily black." " Thus, the 
nonviolent Southern Christian Leadership Conference was labeled as 
a Black Nationalist-"Hate Group." 

Furthermore, the actual targets were chosen from a far broader 
group than the titles of the programs would imply. The CPUSA 
program targeted not only Communist Party members but also spon- 
sors of the National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American 

* For example, parents and spouse, of targets received letters containing accu- 
sations of immoral conduct by the target. (Memorandum from St. Louis Field 
Office to FBI Headquarters. 1/30/70; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to 
Minneapolis Field Office. 11/4/68.) 

* Huston. 9/23/75. Hearings, Vol. 2, p. 45. 
" Moore, 11/8/75, p. 37. 

" New I^ft supervisor, 10/28/75, p. 69. 

^ Black Nationalist Supervisor, 10/17/75, p. 12. 


Activities Committee ^* and civil rights leaders allegedly under Com- 
munist influence or not deemed to be "anti-Communist'\^^ The 
Socialist Workers Party program included non-SWP sponsors of 
antiwar demonstrations which were cosponsored by the SWP or the 
Young Socialist Alliance, its youth group. ^^ The Black Nationalist 
program targeted a range of organizations from the Panthers to 
SNCC to the peaceful Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and 
included every Black Student Union and many other black student 
groups.^^ Xew Left targets ranged from the SDS ^® to the Inter- 
University Committee for Debate on Foreign Policy ,^^ from Antioch 
College (''vanguard of the New Left") -° to the New jNIexico Free 
University and other "alternate" schools,-^ and from underground 
newspapers - to students protesting university censorship of a student 
publication by carrying signs with four-letter words on them.^'* 

S%ib-finding (h) 

The acts taken interfered with the First Amendment rights of citi- 
zens. They were explicitly intended to deter citizens from joining 

^* For example, the entire Unitarian Society of Cleveland was targeted because 
the minister and some members circulated a petition calling for the abolition of 
HUAC, and because the Church gave oflBce space to the "Citizens for Constitu- 
tional Rights". (Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cleveland Field OflBce, 
11/6/64. ) 

^ See Finding on "Overbreadth" p. 181. 

" For instance, the Bureau targeted two non-member students who partici- 
pated in an anti-war "hunger strike" at Oberlin. which was "guided and directed" 
by the Young Socialists Alliance. The students" parents received anonymous let- 
ters, purportedly from a friend of their sons. One letter expressed concern that a 
group of "left wing students" were "cynically using" the boy, which would lead to 
"injury" to his health and "damage to his academic standing". The other letter 
also stated that it was motivated by concern for "damage" to the student's 
"health and personal future" and "the belief that you may not be aware of 
John's current involvement in left-wing activities." (Memorandum from FBI 
headquarters to Cleveland Field Office, 11/29/68. ) 

" One proposal sought to expose Black Student Union Chapters as "breeding 
grounds for racial militancy" by an anonymous mailing to "all institutions where 
there are BSU chapters or incipient chapters". (Memorandum from Portland 
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/3/68. ) 

^^ For example Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Antonio Field 
Office, 10/31/68. 

" An anonymous letter was sent to "influential" Michigan political figures, the 
mass media. University of Michigan administrators, and the Board of Regents, 
in an attempt to "discredit and neutralize" the "communist activities" of the 
lUCDFP. The letter decried the "undue publicity" given anti-war protest 
activities which "undoubtedly give 'aid and comfort' to the enemy" and encour- 
age the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese in "refusing to come to the bargain- 
ing table". The letter continued, "I wonder if the strategy is to bleed the United 
States white by prolonging the war in Vietnam and pave the way for a takeover 
by Russia?" (Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 10/11/ 
66 : Memorandum from FBI Headquarters, to Detroit Field Office 10/26/66. ) 

^"Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cincinnati Field Office. 6/18/68. 

^ The New Mexico Free University was targeted because it taught such courses 
as "confrontation politics" and "draft counselling". (Memorandum from FBI 
Headquarters to Albuquerque Field Office, 3/10/69.) In another case, an "alter- 
nate" school for students "aged five and beyond", which was co-sponsored by the 
ACLU, was targeted because "from the staff being assembled, it appears that 
the school will be a New Left venture and of a radical revolutionary nature". 
The Bureau contacted a confidential source in the bank financing the school so 
that he could "take steps to discourage its developments". (Memorandum from 
FBI Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 7/23/69. 

"See e.g.. Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field Office, 

** Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 11/4/68. 


groups, ''neutralize" those who were already members, and prevent or 
inhibit the expression of ideas. 

In achieving its purported goals of protecting the national security 
and preventing violence, the Bureau attempted to deter membership in 
the target groups. As the supervisor of the "Black Nationalist" CO 
INTELPRO stated, "Obviously, you are going to prevent violence or a 
greater amount of violence if you have smaller groups." ^^ The chief 
of the COINTELPRO unit agreed : "We also made an effort ... to 
deter recruitment where we could. This was done with the view that if 
we could curb the organization, we could curb the action or the vio- 
lence within the organization." -^ As noted above, many of the orga- 
nizations "curbed" were not violent, and covert attacks on group 
membership contravened the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom 
to associate. 

Nor was this the only First Amendment right violated by the 
Bureau, In addition to attempting to prevent people from joining or 
continuing to be members in target organizations, the Bureau tried 
to "deter or counteract" what it called "propaganda" ~^ — the expres- 
sion of ideas which it considered dangerous. Thus, the originating 
document for the "Black Nationalist" COINTELPRO noted that 
"consideration should be given to techniques to preclude" leaders of 
the target organizations "from spreading their philosophy publicly 
or through various mass communication media." ^^ 

Instructions to "preclude" free speech were not limited to "black 
nationalists;" they occurred in every program. In the New Left pro- 
gram, for instance, approximately thirty-nine percent of all actions 
attempted to keep targets from speaking, teaching, writing, or 

The cases included attempts (sometimes successful) to prompt the 
firing of university and high school teachers ; ^^ to prevent targets 
from speaking on campus ; ^° to stop chapters of target groups from 

^* Black Nationalist supervisor, 10/17/75, p. 24. 

"" COINTELPRO unit chief, 10/12/75, p. 54. 

^ COINTELPRO unit chief, 10/12/75. p. 54. 

^' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 8/25/67. 

" The FBI was not the only intelligence agency to attempt to prevent the 
propagation of ideas with which it disagreed, but it was the only one to do so in 
any organized way. The IRS responded to Congressional and Administration 
pressure by targeting political organizations and dissidents for audit. The CIA 
improperly obtained the tax returns of Ramparts magazine after it learned 
that the magazine intended to publish an article revealing Agency support of 
the National Student Association. The CIA saw the article as "an attack on CIA 
in particular and the Administration in general." (CIA memorandum re: "IRS 
Briefing on Ramparts," 2/2/67.) 

'^ For instance, a high school English teacher was targeted for inviting two 
poets to attend a class at his school. The poets were noted for their efforts in 
the draft resistance movement. The Bureau sent anonymous letters to two local 
newspapers, the Board of Education, and the school board. (Memorandum from 
FBI Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field Office. 6/19/69.) 

*■ In one case, the Bureau attempted to stop a "Communist" speaker from 
appearing on campus. The sponsoring organization went to court and won an 
order permitting the lecture to proceed as scheduled ; the Bureau then investi- 
gnted the judge who issupd the order. (Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to 
FBI Henfiquarters. 10/26/60; Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit 
Field Office. 10/27/60. 10 /2S/. 10/31/60; Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner 
to A. H. Belmont, 10/26/60. ) 


being formed ; ^^ to prevent the distribution of books, newspapers, or 
periodicals ; ^^ to disrupt or cancel news conferences ; ^^ to interfere 
with peaceful demonstrations, including the SCLC's Poor Peo- 
ple's Campaign and Washington Spring Project and most of the 
large anti-war marches ; ^* and to deny facilities for meetings or 

As the above cases demonstrate, the FBI was not just "chilling" 
free speech, but squarely attacking it. 

The tactics used against Americans often risked and sometimes 
caused serious emotional, economic, or physical damage. Actions were 
taken which were designed to break up marriages, terminate funding 
or employment, and encourage gang warfare between violent rival 
groups. Due process of law forbids the use of such covert tactics 
whether the victims are innocent law-abiding citizens or members 
of groups suspected of involvement in violence. 

The former head of the Domestic Intelligence Division described 
counterintelligence as a "rough, tough, dirty, and dangerous" busi- 
ness.^*' His description was accurate. 

One technique used in COINTELPEO involved sending anony- 
mous letters to spouses intended, in the words of one proposal, to 
"produce ill-feeling and possibly a lasting distrust" between husband 
and wife, so that "concern over what to do about it" would distract 
the target from "time spent in the plots and plans" of the organiza- 
tion.^" The image of an agent of the United States Government scrawl- 
ing a poison-pen letter to someone's wife in language usually reserved 
for bathroom walls is not a happy one. Nevertheless, anonymous let- 

^ The Bureau tried on several occasions to prevent the formation of campus 
chapters of SDS and the Young Socialist Alliance. (See, e.g., Memorandum from 
San Antonio Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/1/69 ; Memorandum from FBI 
Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 5/1/69.) 

® For example, an anonymous letter to a state legislator protested the distribu- 
tion on campus of an underground newspaper's "depravity", (Memorandum from 
Newark Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/23/69 ; Memorandum from FBI Head- 
quarters to Newark Field Office, 6/4/69) and thhe Bureau anonymously contacted 
the landlady of premises rented by two "New Left" newspapers in an attempt to 
have them evicted. (Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquar- 
ters, 9/9/68 ; Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Los Angeles Field Office, 

^For example, a confidential source in a radio station was contacted in two 
successful attempts to cancel news conferences. (Memorandum from FBI Head- 
quarters to Cleveland Field Office, 10/1/65 ; Memorandum from FBI Headquarters 
to Cleveland Field Office 10/4/65 ; Memorandum from Boston Field Office to FBI 
Headquarters, 2/5/64 ; Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sulli- 
van, 6/25/64.) 

"For instance, the Bureau used the standard counterespionage technique of 
"disinformation" against demonstrators. In one case, the Chicago Field Office 
duplicated blank forms soliciting housing for demonstrators coming to Chicago 
for the Democratic National Convention, filled them out with fictitious names 
and addresses and sent them to the organizers. Demonstrators reportedly made 
"long and use'ess Journeys to locate these addresses." (Memorandum from 
Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 9/9/68. ) The same program was carried 
out by the Washington Field Office when housing forms were distributed for dem- 
onstrators comine to the 1969 Presidential inauerural ceremonies. (Memorandum 
from FBI Headquarters to Washington Field Office. 1/10/69.) Army inteUieence 
agents occasionally took similar, but wholly unauthorized action, see Military 
Surveillance Report : Section III : "Domesttic Radio Monitoring by ASA : 1967- 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego field office, 9/11/69. 

"^ Sullivan, 11/1/75, pp. 97-98. 

^ Memorandum from St. Louis Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/14/69. 


ters were sent to, amon(y others, a Klansman's wife, informing her 
that her husband had "taken the flesh of another unto himself," the 
other person being a woman named Ruby, with her "hist filled eyes 
and smart aleck figure;'' ^* and to a "Black Nationalist's" wife saying 
that her husband "been maken it here" with other women in his or- 
ganization "and than he gives us this jive bout their better in bed 
then you." ^^ A husband who was concerned about his wife's activities 
in a biracial group received a letter which started, "Look man I guess 
your old lady doesn't get enough at home or she wouldn't be shucking 
and jiving with our Black Men" in the group.*° The Field Office re- 
ported as a "tangible result" of this letter that the target and her 
husband separated.*^ 

The Bureau also contacted employers and funding organizations in 
order to cause the firing of the targets or the termination of their 
support.*- For example, priests who allowed their churches to be used 
for the Black Panther breakfast programs were targeted, and anony- 
mous letters were sent to their bishops; *^ a television commentator 
who expressed admiration for a Black Nationalist leader and criticized 
heavy defense spending was transferred after the Bureau contacted 
his employer ; ** and an employee of the Urban League was fired after 
the FBI approached a "confidential source" in a foundation which 
funded the League.*^ 

The Bureau also encouraged "gang warfare" between violent groups. 
An FBI memorandum dated November 25, 1968 to certain Field Offices 
conducting investigations of the Black Panther Party ordered recip- 
ient offices to submit "imaginative and hard-hitting counterintelli- 
gence measures aimed at crippling the BPP." Proposals were to be 
received every two weeks. Particular attention was to be given to 
capitalizing upon differences between the Panthers and US, Inc. (an 
other "Black Nationalist" group), which had reached such propor- 
tions that "it is taking on the aura of gang warfare with attendant 
threats of murder and reprisals.'' "^^^ On May 26, 1970, after U.S. orga- 
nization members had killed four BPP members and members of each 
organization had been shot and beaten by members of the other, the 
Field Office reported : 

Information received from local sources indicate [s] that, 
in general, the membership of the Los Angeles BPP is physi- 
cally afraid of US members and take premeditated precau- 
tions to avoid confrontations. 

^' Memorandum from Richmond Field OflBce to FBI Headquarters, 8/26/66. 

^ The wife who received this letter was described in the Field Office proposal 
as "faithful ... an intelligent respectable young mother who is active in the 
AME Methodist Church." (Memorandum from St. Louis Field Office to FBI Head- 
quarters. 2/14/69. ) 

*" Memorandum from St. Louis Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/30/70. 

" Memorandum from St. Louis Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/19/70. 

*' When the targets were teachers, the intent was to prevent the propagation of 
ideas. In the case of other employer contacts, the purpose was to stop a source 
of funds. 

"^ Memorandum from New Haven Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/12/69 ; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego Field Office. 9/9/69. 

** Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cincinnati Field Office. 3/2S/69. 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field Office, .3/3/69. 

^* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Baltimore Field Office, 11/25/68. 


In view of their anxieties, it is not presently felt that the 
Los Angeles BPP can be prompted into what could result 
in an internecine struggle between the two organizations. . , . 

The Los Angeles Division is aware of the mutually hostile 
feelings harbored between the organizations and the first 
opportunity to capitalize on the situation will be maximized. 
It is intended that US Inc. will be appropriately and dis- 
creetly advised of the time and location of BPP activities in 
order that the two organizations might be brought together 
and thus grant nature the opportunity to take her due 
course^^ [Emphasis added.] 

A second Field Office noted : 

Shootings, beiatings 'and a high degree of unrest continues 
to prevail in the ghetto area of Southeast San Diego. Al- 
though no specific counterintelligence action can be credited 
with contributing to this overall situation, it is felt that a 
substantial amount of the mirest is directly attributable to 
this program.^^ 

In another case, an anonymous letter was sent to the leader of the 
Blackstone Rangers (a group, according to the Field Offices' proposal, 
"to whom violent-type activity, shooting, and the like are second 
nature") advising him that "the brothers that run the Panthers blame 
you for blocking their thing and there's supposed to be a hit out for 
you." The letter was intended to "intensify the degree of animosity 
between the tAvo groups" and cause "retaliatory action which could 
disrupt the BPP or lead to reprisals against its leadership." *^ 

Another technique which risked serious harm to the target was 
falsely labeling a target an informant. This technique was used in all 
five domestic COINTELPRO. When a member of a nonviolent group 
was successfully mislabeled as an informant, the result was alienation 
from the group.*^ When the target belonged to a group known to have 
killed suspected informants, the risk was substantially more serious. 
On several occasions, the Bureau used this technique against members 
of the Black Panther Party ; it was used at least twice after FBI docu- 
ments expressed concern over the possible consequences because two 
members of the BPP had been murdered as suspected informants.^" 

The Bureau recognized that some techniques used in COINTELPRO 
were more likely than others to cause serious physical, emotional, or 
economic damage to the targets.^^ Any proposed use of such tech- 
niques — for example, encouraging enmity between violent rival 

*' Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI headquarters, 5/26/70, 
pp. 1-2. 

*'' Memorandum from San Diegv> Field Office to FBI headquarters. 9/15/69. 

** Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI headquarters, 1/12/69 ; Mem- 
orandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago Field Office, 1/30/69. 

*' See, e.g., Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 

^ One proposal to label a BPP member a "pig informer" was rejected because 
the Panthers had recently murdered two suspected informers. The victims had 
not been targets of a Bureau effort to label them informants. (Memorandum from 
FBI Headquarters to Cincinnati Field Office, 2/18/71.) Nevertheless, two similar 
proposals were implemented a month later, (Memorandum from FBI Headquar- 
ters to Washington Field Office, 3/19/71 ; Memorandum from FBI Headquarters 
to Charlotte Field Office, 3/31/71.) 

^^ At least four assaults — two of them on women — were reported as "results" 
of Bureau actions. (See COINTELPRO Report, Section IV : Wartimes Technique 
Brought Home. ) 


groups, falsely labeling group members as informants, and mailing 
anonymous letters to targets' spouses accusing the target of infidelity — 
was scrutinized carefully by headquarters supervisory personnel, in 
an attempt to balance the "greater good" to be achieved by the pro- 
posal against the known or risked harm to the target. If the "good" 
was sufficient, the proposal was approved. For instance, in discussing 
anonymous letters to spouses, the agent who supervised the New Left 

[Before recommending approval] I would want to know 
what you want to get out of this, who are these people. If it's 
somebody, and say they did split up, what would accrue from 
it as far as disrupting the New Left is concerned ? Say they 
broke up, what then. . . . 

[The question would be] is it worth it ? ^^ 
Similarly, with regard to caiising false suspicions that an individual 
was an informant, the chief of the Racial Intelligence Section stated : 
You have to be able to make decisions and I am sure that la- 
beling somebody as an informant, that you'd want to make 
certain that it served a good purpose before you did it and not 
do it haphazardly. ... It is a serious thing ... As far as I am 
aware, in the black extremist area, by using that technique, no 
one was killed. I am sure of that.^^^ 
This official was asked whether the fact that no one was killed was the 
result of "luck or planning." He answered : "Oh, it just happened that 
way, I am sure." ^^^ 

It is intolerable in a free society that an agency of the Government 
should adopt such tactics, whether or not the targets are involved in 
criminal activity. The "greater good" of the country is in fact served 
by adherence to the rule of law mandated by the Constitution. 

Sub-findmg (d) 

The sustained use of such tactics by the FBI in an attempt to de- 
stroy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., violated the law and fundamental 
human decency. 

The Committee devoted substantial attention to the FBI's covert 
action campaign against Dr. Martin Luther King because it demon- 
strates just how far the Government could go in a secret war against 
one citizen. In focusing upon Dr. King, however, it should not be 
forgotten that the Bureau carried out disruptive activities against 
hundreds of lesser-known American citizens. It should also be borne 
in mind that positive action on the part of high Government officials 
outside the FBI might have prevented what occurred in this case.^^ 

The FBI's claimed justification for targeting Dr. King — alleged 
Communist influence on him and the civil rights movement — is ex- 
amined elsewhere in this report.^* 

^ New Left supervisor 10/28/75, pp. 72, 74. 

'=" Moore, 11/3/75, p. 62. 

^^ Moore, 11/3/75, p. 64. 

® See pp. 275-277 and 205-206 of this Report for a detailed discussion of which 
officials were aware or sht>uld have been aware of what the Bureau was doing 
to Dr. King and how their action or inaction might have contributed to what 
went on. 

^ See Marin Luther King Report, Section III, "Concern in the FBI and the 
Kennedy Administration Over Allegations of Communist Influence in the Civil 
Rights Movement Increases, and the FBI Intensifies the Investigation : Octo- 
ber 1962-October 1963." See generally, Finding on Overbreadth, p. 175. 


The FBI's campaign against Dr. ISIartin Luther King, Jr. began in 
December 1963, four months after the famous civil rights March on 
Washington,^^ when a nine-hour meeting was convened at FBI Head- 
quarters to discuss A^arious "avenues of approach aimed at neutralizing 
King as an effective Negro leader." ^^ Following the meeting, agents 
in the field were instructed to "continue to gather information con- 
cerning King's personal activities ... in order that we may consider 
using this information at an opportune time in a counterintelligence 
move to discredit him." ^^ 

About two weeks after that conference, FBI agents planted a micro- 
phone in Dr. King's bedroom at the Willard Hotel in Washington, 
D.C.^^ During the next two years, the FBI installed at least fourteen 
more "bugs" in Dr. King's hotel rooms across the countrj'.^^ Physical 
and photographic surveillances accompanied some of the microphones 

The FBI also scrutinized Dr. King's tax returns, monitored his 
financial affairs, and even tried to determine whether he had a secret 
foreign bank account.®^ 

In late 1964, a "sterilized" tape was prepared in a manner that would 
prevent attribution to the FBI and was "anonymously" mailed to Dr. 
King just before he received the Nobel Peace Prize.®^ Enclosed in the 
package with the tape was an unsigned letter which warned Dr. King, 

■^ The August 1963 march on Washington was the occasion of Dr. Kings "I 
Have a Dream" speech, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. (See memorandum 
from William C. Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 8/30/63, characterizing the speech as 
"demagogic". ) 

*• Memorandum from William C. Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 12/24/63. Although 
FBI officials were making derogatory references to Dr. King and passing personal 
information about Dr. King to their superiors. (Memorandum from Hoover to 
Deputy Attorney General Katzenbach, 8/13/63.) Prior to December 1963, the 
Committee had discovered no document reflecting a strategy to deliberately 
discredit him prior to the memorandum relating to the December 1963 meeting. 

^^ Memorandum from William C. Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 12/24/63. 

^The microphone was installed on January 5, 1964 (Memorandum from 
William C. Sullivan to Alan Belmont, l/6/(>4.), just days after Dr. King's pic- 
ture appeared on the cover of Time magazine as "Man of the Year." (Time 
Magazine, January 3, 1964.) Reading of the Time magazine award, the Director 
had written, "They had to dig deep in the garbage to come up with this one." 
(Note on UP release, 12/29/63.) 

*' FBI memoranda make clear that microphones were one of the technique!* 
being used in the effort to obtain information about Dr. King's private life. 
(Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan 1/28/64.) The mi- 
crophones were installed at the following places: Washington: Willard Hotel 
(Jan. 1964) ; Miltvavkee: Shroeder Hotel (Jan. 1964) ; Honolulu: Hilton Hawai- 
ian Village (Feb. 1964) ; Detroit: Statler Hotel (March 1964) ; Sacramento: 
Senator Motel (Apr. 1964) ; New York Citu: Park Sheraton Hotel (Jan. 1965). 
Americana Hotel (Jan. and Nov. 1965), Sheraton Atlantic Hotel (May 1965), 
Astor Hotel (Oct. 1965), New York Hilton Hotel (Oct. 1965). 

*" FBI summary memorandum, 10/3/75 : memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner 
to William C. Sullivan, 3/26/64 ; memorandum from William C. Sullivan to Alan 
Belmont, 2/22/64 ; and unsigned memorandum, 2/28/64. 

"^Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan. 3/27/64; 
memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/2/64; memo- 
randum from F. J. Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 7/14/65. 

^ Sullivan 11/1/75. pp. 104-105. staff summary of a .special agent interview, 
7/25/75. Three days before the tape was mailed. Director Hoover had publicly 
branded Dr. King "the most notorious liar in the country" and Dr. King had 
responded with a criticism of the Bureau. (Memorandum from Cartba DeLoach 
to John Mohr, 11/18/64 ; telegram from Martin Luther King to J. Edgar Hoover 


"your end is approaching . . . you are finished." The letter intimated 
that the tape might be publicly released, and closed with the follow- 
ing message: 

King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know 
what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do (this exact 
number has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite 
practical significance) . You are done. There is but one way out 
for you . . .^^ 

Dr. King's associates have said he interpreted the message as an effort 
to induce him to commit suicide.^* 

At about the same time that it mailed the "sanitized" tape, the FBI 
was also apparently offering tapes and transcripts to newsmen.''^ Later 
when civil rights leaders Eoy Wilkins and James Farmer went to 
Washington to persuade Bureau officials to halt the FBI's discredit- 
ing efforts,*^'^ they were told that "if King want[s] war we [are] pre- 
pared to give it to him." ^^ 

Shortly thereafter, Dr. King went to Europe to receive the Nobel 
Peace Prize. The Bureau tried to undermine ambassadorial receptions 
in several of the countries he visited,^^ and when he returned to the 

"^ This paragraph appears in a document in the form of a letter which the FBI 
has supplied to the Committee and which the Bureau maintains was discovered in 
the files of former Assistant Director Sullivan. (FBI memorandum to the Select 
Committee, 9/18/75.) Sullivan stated that he did not recall the letter and sug- 
gested that it may have been "planted" in his files by his former colleagues. 
(Sullivan 11/1/75, p. 104.) Congressman Andrew Young has informed the Com- 
mittee that an identical paragraph was contained in the letter which was 
actually received by Dr. King with the tape, and that the letter the committee 
had, supplied by the Bureau, appears to be an "early draft." (Young, 2/19/76, 
p. 36.) 

Sullivan said that the purpose of sending the tape was "to blackmail King into 
silence ... to stop him from criticising Hoover; ... to diminish his stature. 
In other words, if it caused a break between Coretta and Martin Luther King, that 
would diminish his stature. It would weaken him as a leader." (Sullivan, 
11/1/75, 11/26/75, p. 152.) 

** Young, 2/19/76, p. 37, Time magazine had reported earlier in the year that 
Dr. King had attempted suicide twice as a child. [Time magazine, Jan. 4, 1964.] 

^ Several newsmen have informed the Committee that they were offered this 
kind of material or that they were aware that such material was available. Some 
have refused to identify the individuals who made the offers and others have 
said they could not recall their identities. Former FBI officials have denied that 
tapes or transcripts were offered to the press (e.g., DeLoach testimony, 11/26/75, 
p. 152) and the Bureau maintains that their files contain no documents reflecting 
that this occurred. 

" Staff interviews of Roy Wilkins, 11/23/75, and James Farmer, 11/13/75. 

*' Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 11/27/64 ; staff interview 
of James Farmer, 11/13/75. Three days after Wilkins' meeting with DeLoach, 
Dr. King asked to see the Director, telling the press "the time has come to bring 
this controversy to an end." (UPI release, 12/1/64) Dr. King and Hoover met the 
following day; the meeting was described as "amicable." (Memoranda from 
Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 12/1/64 and 12/2/64.) Despite the "amicable" 
meeting, the Bureau's campaign against Dr. King continued. 

''Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan, 11/30/64; 
memorandum from Legat to FBI Headquarters, 12/10/64. Steps were also taken 
to thwart a meeting which Dr. King was planning to have with a foreign leader 
during this same trip (Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. 
Sullivan. 11/10/64; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Legat, 11/10/64), 
and to influence a pending USIA decision to send Dr. King on a ten-day lecture 
trip in Africa after receiving the Nobel Pris^e. (Memorandum from F. J. Baum- 
gardner to William C. Sullivan, 11/12/64.) 


United States, took steps to diminish supjDort for a banquet and a 
special "day" being planned in his honor.''^ 

The Bureau's actions against Dr. King included attempts to prevent 
him from meeting with world leaders, receiving honors or favorable 
publicity, and gaining financial support. When the Bureau learned 
of a possible meeting between Dr. King and the Pope in August 1964, 
the FBI asked Cardinal Spellman to try to arrange a cancellation of 
the audience.'^" Discovering that two schools (Springfield College and 
Marquette University) were going to honor Dr. King with special 
degrees in the spring of 1964, Bureau agents tried to convince officials 
at the schools to rescind their plans." And when the Bureau learned 
in October 1966 that the Ford Foundation might grant three million 
dollars to Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, they 
asked a former FBI agent who was a high official at the Ford Motor 
Company to try to block the award." 

A magazine was asked not to publish favorable articles about him.^^ 
Keligious leaders and institutions were contacted to undermine their 
support of him.^* Press conference questions were prepared and dis- 

'" The Bureau was in touch with Atlanta Constitution publisher Ralph McGill, 
and tried to obtain the assistance of the Constitution's editor, Eugene Patterson, 
to undermine the banquet. (Memorandum from William C. Sullivan to Alan 
Belmont, 12/21/64; staff summary of Eugene Patterson interview, 4/30/75.) A 
governor's assistance was sought in the effort to "water down" the "King day." 
(Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan, 3/2/65.) 

'"' The Bureau had decided it would be "astounding" for Dr. King to have an 
audience with the Pope and that plans for any such meeting should be "nipped 
in the bud." (Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan, 
8/31/64.) When the Bureau failed to block the meeting and the press reported 
that the audience was about to occur, the Director noted that this was "astound- 
ing." (FBI Director's notation on UPI release, 9/18/64). FBI officials took 
immediate steps to determine "if there could possibly have been a slip-up." 
(Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan, 9/17/64.) 

" The Bureau had decided that it would be "shocking indeed that the pos- 
sibility exists that King may receive an Honorary Degree from the same institu- 
tion (Marquette) which honored the Director with such a Degree in 1950." With 
respect to Springfield College, where the Director had also been offered an honor- 
ary degree, the Bureau's decision about whom to contact included the observation 
that "it would not appear to be prudent to attempt to deal with" the President 
of the college because he "is very close to Sargent Shriver." (Memorandum from 
F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan, 3/4/64 ; and 4/2/64 ; memorandum 
from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 4/8/64. ) 

'* Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to Clyde Tolson, 10/25/66 and 10/26/66. 
At about the same time, the Bureau leaked a story to the press about Dr. King's 
intention to seek financial assistance from Teamsters Union President James R. 
Hoffa because "[d]isclo.sure would be mutually embarrassing to both men and 
probably cause King's quest for badly needed funds to fail in this instance." 
(Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan, 10/28/66.) 

The Bureau also tried to block the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 
dealing with the SCLC. "It is incredible that an outfit such as the SCLC should 
be utilized for the purpose of recruiting Negroes to take part in the NSF program, 
particularly where funds of the U.S. Government are involved." (Memorandum 
from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan, 12/17/64.) 

''Hiemorandum from Special Agent to Cartha DeLoach, 11/3/64. 

'* "It is shocking indeed that King continues to be honored by religious groups." 
(Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan. 2/1/65.) Contacts 
were made with representatives of the National Council of Churches of Christ, 
the Baptist World Alliance, the American Church in Paris, and Catholic Church. 
(Memoranda from William C. Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 6/12/64, 12/15/64 and 
2/16/64 ; memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan. 2/18/66 : 
memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/24/66, and 


tributed to "friendly" journalists." And plans were even discussed for 
sabotaging his political campaign in the event he decided to run for 
national office.'^^ An SCLC employee was "anonymously" informed 
that the SCLC was trying to get rid of her "so that the Bureau 
[would be] in a position to ca})italize on [her] bitterness." ^^ Bureau 
officials contacted members of Congress/^ and special "off the record" 
testimony was prepared for the Director's use before the House 
Appropriations Committee.^" 

The "neutralization" program continued until Dr. King's death. As 
late as INIarch 1968, FBI agents were being instructed to neutralize 
Dr. King because he might become a "messiah" who could "unify, 
and electrify, the militant black nationalist movement" if he were to 
"abandon his supposed 'obedience' to 'white liberal doctrines' (non- 
violence) and embrace black nationalism." ^^ Steps were taken to sub- 
vert the "Poor People's Campaign" which Dr. King was planning to 
lead in the spring of 1968.^- Even after Dr. King's death, agents in 
the field were proposing methods for harassing his widow,^^ and Bu- 
reau officials were trying to prevent his birthday from becoming a 
national holiday.^* 

The actions taken against Dr. King are indefensible. They repre- 
sent a sad episode in the dark history of covert actions directed against 
law abiding citizens by a law enforcement agency. 

memorandum from Legat, Paris, to FBI Headquarters, 4/14/66 and 5/9/66.) 
The Director did disapprove a suggestion that religious leaders be permitted "to 
listen to sources we have" (FBI Director's note on memorandum from Jones to 
Thomas Bishop, 12/8/64. ) 

'^ Memorandum from Charles Brennan to William C. Sullivan, 3/8/67. The Bu- 
reau also disseminated to "friendly media sources" a newspaper article which 
was critical of Dr. King's position on the Vietnam war. The stated purposes 
were to "publicize King as a traitor to bis country and his race," and to "re- 
duce his income," (memorandum from George C. Moore to William C. Sullivan, 
10/18/67.) "Background information" was also given to at least one wire serv- 
ice (memorandum from Sizoo to William C. Sullivan, 5/24/65). 

™ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office 5/18/67. There 
has been rumors about a "peace ticket" headed by Dr. King and Benjamin 

'* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 4/13/64 ; 
memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/2/64. 

" Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 8/14/65 ; memorandum 
from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan, 1/10/67. 

^ Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan, 1/22/64 ; 
memorandum from Nicholas Callahan to John Mohr, 1/31/64. On one occasion 
the testimony leaked to other members of Congress, prompting the Director to 
note. "Someone on Rooney's Committee certainly betrayed the secrecy of the 
'oflf the record' testimony I gave re: King." (Director's note on memorandum 
from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 3/16/64.) 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 3/4/68. 

*^ Memorandum from George C. Moore to William C. Sullivan, 3/26/68. 

^Memorandum from Atlanta Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/18/69. 

^ Memoranda : From George C. Moore to William C. Sullivan. 1/17/69 : and 
from Jones to Thomas Bishop, 3/18/69. Steps were even taken to prevent the 
issuance of "commemorative medals." (Memorandum from Jones to Thomas 
Bishop, 5/22/68.) 


Major Finding 

The Committee finds that information has been collected and dis- 
seminated in order to serve the purely political interests of an intel- 
ligence agency or the administration, and to influence social policy 
and political action. 


(a) "White House officials have requested and obtained politically 
useful information from the FBI, including information on the activi- 
ties of political opponents or critics. 

(b) In some cases, political or personal information was not specifi- 
cally requested, but was nevertheless collected and disseminated to ad- 
ministration officials as part of investigations they had requested. 
Neither the FBI nor the recipients differentiated in these cases be- 
tween national security or law enforcement information and purely 
political intelligence. 

(c) The FBI has also volunteered information to Presidents and 
their staffs, without having been asked for it, sometimes apparently to 
curry favor with the current administration. Similarly, the FBI has 
assembled intelligence on its critics and on political figures it believed 
might influence public attitudes or Congressional support. 

(d) The FBI has also used intelligence as a vehicle for covert efforts 
to influence social policy and political action. 

Elahoration of Findings 

The FBI's ability to gather information without effective restraints 
gave it enormous power. That power was inevitably attractive to politi- 
cians, who could use information on opponents and critics for their 
own advantage, and was also an asset to the Bureau, which depended 
on politicians for support. In the political arena, as in other facets of 
American life touched by the intelligence community, the existence of 
unchecked power led to its abuse. 

By providing politically useful information to the Wliite House 
and congressional supporters, sometimes on demand and some- 
times gratuitously, the Bureau buttressed its own position in the 
political structure. At the same time, the widespread — and accurate — 
belief in Congress and the administration that the Bureau had avail- 
able to it, derogatory information on politicians and critics created 
what the late Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hale 
Boggs, called a "fear" of the Bureau : 

Freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of action for 
men in public life can be compromised quite as effectively by 
the fear of surveillance as by the fact of sur\^eillance.^ 

^ Remarks by Rep. Hale Boggs, 4/22/71, Congressional Record, Vol. 117, Part 
9, p. 11565. 


-786 O - 76 - le 


Information gathered and disseminated to the White House ranged 
from purely political intelligence, such as lobbying efforts on bills an 
administration opposed and the strategy of a delegate challenge at a 
national political convention, to "tidbits" about the activities of poli- 
ticiaiis and public figures which the Bureau believed "of interest" to 
the recipients. 

Such participation in political machinations by an intelligence 
agency is totally improper. Responsibility for what amounted to a 
betrayal of the public trust in the integrity of the FBI must be shared 
between the officials who requested such information and those who 
provided it. 

The Bureau's collection and dissemination of politically useful in- 
formation was not colored by partisan considerations ; rather its effect 
was to entrench the Bureau's own position in the political structure, 
regardless of wliich party was in power at the time. However, the 
Bureau also used its powers to serve ideological purposes, attempting 
covertly to influence social policy and political action. 

In its efforts to "protect society," the FBI engaged in activities 
which necessarily affected the processes by which American citizens 
make decisions. In doing so, it distorted and exaggerated facts, made 
use of the mass media, and attacked the leadership of groups which 
it considered threats to the social order. 

Law enforcement officers are, of course, entitled to state their opin- 
ions about what choices the people should make on contemporary social 
and political issues. The First Amendment guarantees their right to 
enter the marketplace of ideas and persuade their fellow citizens of 
the correctness of those opinions by making speeches, writing books, 
and, within certain statutory limits, supporting political candidates. 
The problem lies not in the open expression of views, but in the covert 
use of power or position of trust to influence others. This abuse is 
aggravated by the agency's control over information on which the 
public and its elected representatives rely to make decisions. 

The essence of democracy is the belief that the people must be free 
to make decisions about matters of public policy. The FBI's ac- 
tions interfered with the democratic process, because attitudes within 
the Bureau toward social change led to the belief that such inton^en- 
tion formed a part of its obligation to protect society. When a govern- 
mental agency clandestinely tries to impose its views of what is right 
upon the American people, then the democratic process is undermined. 

Si/hftidinQ (a) 

AMiite House officials have requested and obtained politically use- 
ful information from the FBI. including personal life information 
on the activities of political opponents or critics. 

Presidents and "Wliite House aides have asked the FBI to provide 
political or personal information on opponents and critics, including 
"name checks" of Bureau files.^ They have also asked the Bureau to 

^ A "name cheek" is not an investigation, but a search of existing: FBI files 
throneh the use of the Bureau's comprehensive general name inrlpx. Requests 
for FBI "name checks" were peculiarly damaging because no new investigation 
was done to verify allegations stored away for years in Bureau files. A former 
FBI official responsible for compliance with such requests said that the Bu- 
reau "answered ... by furnishing the White House every piece of information 
In our files on the individuals requested." Depo.sition of Thomas E. Bishop, 
former Assistant Director, Crime Records Division, 12/2/75, p. 144.) 


conduct electronic surveillance or more limited investigations of such 
persons. The FBI appears to have complied unquestioningly with 
these requests, despite occasional internal doubts about their pro- 

Precedents for certain political abuses go back to the very outset 
of the domestic intelligence program. In 1940 the FBI complied with 
President Roosevelt's request to file the names of people sending 
critical telegrams to the "\^niite House.* There is evidence of improper 
electronic sui'veillance for the White House in the 1940s.^ And an aide 
to President Eisenhower asked the FBI to conduct a questionable 
name check.*' In 1962, the FBI complied unquestioningly with a re- 
quest from Attorney General Kennedy to interview a steel executive 
and several reporters Avho had written stories about a statement by 
the executive.' As part of an investigation of foreign lobbying efforts 
on sugar quota legislation in 1961 and 1962, Attorney General Ken- 
nedy requested wiretaps on a Congressional aide, three executive 
officials, and two American lobbyists, including a Washington law 

Nevertheless, the political misuse of the FBI under the Johnson 
and Nixon administrations appears to have been more extensive 
than in previous years. 

Under the Johnson administration, the FBI was used to gather 
and report political intelligence on the administration's partisan op- 
ponents in the last days of the 1964 and 1968 Presidential election 

^ Former FBI executive Cartha DeLoacli, who was FBI liaison witli the White 
House during part of the Johnson administration, has stated, "I simply followed 
Mr. Hoover's instructions in complying with "White House requests and I never 
asked any questions of the White House as to what they did with the material 
afterwards." (DeLoach deposition, 11/2.5/75, p. 28.) On at least one occasion, 
when a A^liite House aide indicated that President Johnson did not want any 
record made by the FBI of a request for a "run-down" on the links between 
Robert Kennedy and officials involved in the Bobby Baker investigation, the 
Bureau disregarded the order. DeLoach stated that he "ignored the specific 
instructions" in this instance because he "felt that any instructions we received 
from t>ie White House should be a matter of record." (DeLoach deposition, 
11/25/75, p. 89.) 

Former Assistant Director Bishop stated, "Who am I to ask the President of 
the United States what statutory basis he has if he wants to know what in- 
formation is in the files of the FBI?" It was a "proper dis.semination" because 
it was "not a dissemination outside the executive branch" and because there was 
"no law, no policy of the Department of .Justice, ... no statute of the United 
States that says that was not i)ermissible." But even if there had been a statute 
laying down standards, BLshop said "it wouldn't have made a bit of difference 
. . . wlien the Attorney General or the President asks for it." 

Bishop recalled from his "own knowledge" instances where President Kennedy, 
•Johnson, and Nixon had "called over and asked Mr. Hoover for a memo on 
certain people." (Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, pp. 153-154.) _ 

* Memoranda from Stephen Early, Secretary to the President, to Hoover, 5/21/40 
and 6/17/40. 

" FBI memorandum to Senate Select Committee, 3/26/76 ; See pp. 36-37. 
' Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Thomas E. Stephens. Secretary to the 
President. 4/13/54. 

■^ Tourtnev Evans deposition, 12/1/75, p. 39. 

* See pp. 64-65. The tap aiithorized by Attorney General Kennedy on another 
high executive official was not related to political considerations, nor appar- 
enti.v was the tap authorized by Attorney General Katzenbach in 1965 on the 
editor of an anti-communist newsletter who had published a book alleging 
impropriety by Robert Kennedy a year earlier. 


campaio^ns. In the closing days of the 1964 campaign, Presidential 
aide Bill Moyers asked the Bureau to conduct "name checks" on all 
persons employed in Senator Goldwater's Senate office, and informa- 
tion on two staff members was reported to the White House.^ Simi- 
larly, in the last two weeks of the 1968 campaign, the Johnson White 
House requested an investigation (including indirect electronic sur- 
veillance and direct physical surveillance) of Mrs. Anna Chennault, a 
prominent Republican leader, and her relationships with certain South 
Vietnamese ofRcials.^^ This investigation also included an FBI check 
of Vice Presidential candidate Spiro Agnew's long distance telephone 
call records, apparently at the personal request of President 

Another investigation for the Johnson White House involved ex- 
ecutive branch officials who took part in the criminal investigation 
of former Johnson Senate aide Bobby Baker. When Baker's trial 
began in 1967, it was revealed that one of the government witnesses 
had been "wired" to record his conversations with Baker. Presidential 
aide Marvin Watson told the FBI that Johnson was quite "exercised," 
and the Bureau was ordered to conduct a discreet "nm-down" on the 
former head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and four 
Treasury Department officials who had been responsible for "wiring" 

® Memorandum from Hoover to Moyers, 10/27/64, cited in FBI summary 
memorandum. 1/31/75. 

" Bureau files indicate that the apparent "reason" for the "White House 
interest" was to determine "whether the South Vietnamese had secretly been 
in touch with supporters of Presidential candidate Nixon, possibly through 
Mrs. Chennault, as President Johnson was apparently suspicious that the South 
Vietnamese were trying to sabotage his peace negotiations in the hope that 
Nixon would win the election and then take a harder line towards North 
Vietnam." (FBI memorandum, subject: Mrs. Anna Chennault, 2/1/75.) The 
FBI has claimed that its investigation of Mrs. Chennault was "consistent with 
FBI responsibilities to determine if her activities were in violation of certain 
provisions of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and of the Neutrality Act." 

Direct electronic surveillance of Mrs. Chennault was rejected, according to a 
contemporaneous FBI memorandum, because FBI executive Cartha DeLoach 
pointed out that "it was widely known that .«he was involved in Republican 
political circles and, if it became known that the FBI was surveilling her this 
would put us in a most untenable and embarrassing position." (Memorandum 
from DeLoach to Tolson, 10/30/68.) 

Electronic surveillance was, however, directed at the South Vietnamese ofl3- 
cials and was approved by Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Clark has testified 
that he did not know of the physical surveillance aspect of the FBI's investiga- 
tion, but that he did authorize the electronic surveillance of the South Vietnamese 
officials. (Clark testimony, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 252.) 

" FBI executive Cartha DeLoach has stated that a White House aide made 
the initial request for the check of telephone company records late one night. 
According to DeLoach, the request was "to find out who. either Mr. Agnew or 
Mr. Nixon, when they had been in Albuquerque (New Mexico) several days prior 
to that, had called from Albuquerque while they were there." When DeLoach 
refused to contact the telephone company "late in the evening," President Johnson 
"came on the phone and proceeded to remind me that he was Commander in 
Chief and he should get what be wanted, and he wanted me to do it immedi- 
ately." DeLoach then talked with Director Hoover, who told him to "stand 
your ground." The next day, however. Hoover ordered that the records be 
checked, but the only calls identified were "made by Mr. Agnew's staff." These 
were rei)orted to the White House. (DeLoach Deposition, 11/2.5/75, pp. 74-75.) 
Agnew's arrival and departure times in and out of Albuquerque were also 
"verified at the request of the White House." (FBI summary memorandiun, 
subject : Mrs. Anna Chennault, 2/1/75). 


the witness. The Bureau was specifically insisted to include any asso- 
ciations between those persons and Robert Kennedy.^^ 

Several Jolmson White House requests were directed at critics of 
the war in Vietnam, at newsmen, and at other opponents. According 
to a Bureau memorandum, White House aide Marvin Watson at- 
tempted to disguise liis, and the President's interest in such requests 
by asking the FBI to channel its replies through a lower level White 
House staff member," 

In 1966, Watson asked the FBI to monitor the televised hearings 
of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Vietnam policy and 
prepare a memorandum comparing statements of the President's Sen- 
ate critics with "the Commmiist Pai-ty line.'' ^* Similarly, in 1967 when 
seven Senators made statements criticizing the bombing of North 
Vietnam, Watson requested (and the Bureau delivered) a "blind mem- 
orandum'' setting forth infonnation from FBI files on each of the 
Senators. Among the data supplied were the following items : 

Senator Clark was quoted in the press as stating that the 
three major threats to America are the military-industrial 
complex, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Central 
Intelligence Agency. 

Senator ^IcGovem spoke at a rally sponsored by the Chi- 
cago Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, a pacifist group. 
Senator McGovern stated that the "United States was mak- 
ing too much of the communist take-over of Cuba." 

[Another Senator now deceased] has, on many occasions, 
publicly criticized United States policy toward Vietnam. He 
frequently speaks before groups throughout the United States 
on this subject. He has been reported as intentionally enter- 
ing into controversial areas so that his services as a speaker 
for which he receives a fee, will be in demand.^^ 

The Johnson administration also requested information on contacts 
between members of Congress and certain foreign officials known to 
oppose the United States presence in Vietnam. According to FBI 

" FBI Director Hoover brought the matter to the attention of the White 
House in a letter describing why the FBI had refused to "wire" the witness 
(tliere was not adequate "security") and how tlie Criminal Division had then 
used the Bureau of Narcotics to do so. (JNIemorandum from Hoover to Watson, 
1/12/67.) This was the instance where FBI executive Cartha DeLoach made 
a record, after Watson told him that "the President does not want any record 
made." (Memorandum from DeLoach to Tolson, 1/17/67; see also FBI summary 
memorandum, 2/3/75.) 

^^ According to this memorandum. Watson told Cartha DeLoach in 1967 that 
"he and the President" wanted all "communications addre.s.sed to him by the 
Director" to be addressed instead to a lower level White House staff member. 
Watson told DeLoach that the "reason for this change" was that the staff 
member "did not have the direct connection with the President that he had and, 
consequently, people who saw such commiinications would not suspicion (sic) 
that Watson or the President had requested such information, nor were inter- 
ested in such information." (Memorandum from De Loach to Tolson, 3/17/67.) 

^* FBI summary memorandum, subject : Coverage of Television Presentation. 
Senate Foreign Relations Commiftee, 1/31/7.5. Former FBI executive Cartha 
DeLoach has stated, regarding this incident, "We felt that it was beyond the 
jurisdiction of the FBI, but obviou.sly Mr. Hoover felt that this was a request 
by the President and he desired it to be done." (DeLoach deposition, 11/25/7.5, 
p. 58.) 

^^ Blind FBI memorandum, 2/10/67. 


records, President Johnson believed these foreign officials had gen- 
erated "much of the protest concerning his Vietnam policy, particu- 
larly the hearings in the Senate." ^® 

Wliite House requests were not limited to critical Congressmen. 
Ordinary citizens who sent telegrams protesting the Vietnam war 
to the Wliite House were also the subject of Watson requests for FBI 
name check reports.^^ Presidential aide Jake Jacobsen asked for name 
checks on persons whose names appeared in the Congressional Record 
as signers of a letter to Senator Wayne Morse expressing support for 
his criticism of U.S. Vietnam policy.^^ On at least one occasion, a 
request was channeled through Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who 
supplied Watson (at the latter's request) with a summary of infor- 
mation on the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy.^^ 

Other individuals who were the subject of such name check requests 
under the Johnson Administration included NBC Commentator David 
Brinkley,^" Associated Press reporter Peter Arnett,^^ columnist 
Joseph Kraft,^' Life magazine Washington bureau chief Richard 
Stolley,^^ Chiago Daily News Washington bureau chief Peter 
Lisagor,^* and Ben W. Gilbert of the Washington Post.^^ The John- 
son "\Vliite House also requested (and received) name check reports on 
the authors of books critical of the Warren Commission report ; some 
of these reports included derogatory information about the personal 
lives of the individuals.^^ 

The Nixon administration continued the practice of using the FBI 
to produce political information. In 1969 John Ehrlichman, counsel 
to President Nixon, asked the FBI to conduct a "name check" on 
Joseph Duffy, chairman of Americans for Democratic Action. Data 
in Bureau files covered Duffy's "handling arrangements" for an anti- 
war teach-in in 1965, his position as State Coordinator of the group 

" President Johnson's request also went beyond "legislators," and included 
contacts by any "prominent U.S. citizens." (FBI summary memorandum, sub- 
ject: Information Concerning Contacts Between [Certain Foreign officials] and 
Members or Staff of the United States Congress Furnished to the White House 
at the Request of the President, 2/3/75.) The FBI's reports indicated that its 
information came "through coverage" of the foreign officials and that the Bureau, 
in this case, had "conducted no investigation of members of Congress." (FBI 
summary memorandum, 2/3/75.) FBI "coverage" apparently included electronic 

President Nixon also requested information on contacts between foreign officials 
and Congressmen, but his request does not appear to have related to Presidential 
critics. Rather, the Nixon request grew out of concern about "an increase in 
[foreign] interest on Capitol Hill" which had been expressed to President Nixon 
by at least one Senator ; and the FBI's report "included two examples of 
[foreign] intelligence initiatives directed against Capi'tol Hill without identifying 
the [foreigners] or American involved." (FBI summary memorandum, 2/3/75.) 

"Memoranda from Hoover to Watson, 6/4/65 and 7/30/65. 

" Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 7/15/66, citing Jacobsen request. 

" Memorandum from Clark to Watson, 4/S/67, enclosing memorandum from 
Director, FBI to the Attorney General. 4/7/67. (LB J Library.) 

^"Memoranda from Hoover to Watson, 2/15/65 and 5/29/65. 

^ Memorandum from Hoover to AVatson, 7/22/65. 

^Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 1/27/67. 

*' Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 4/6/66. 

^* Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 2/24/66. 

^° Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 4/6/66. 

^* Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 11/8/66; DeLoach, 12/3/75, Hear- 
ings, Vol. 6, pp. 180-182. 


"Negotiation Now" in 1967, and his activity as chairman of Con- 
necticut Citizens for McCarthy in 1968.2''^ 

Presidential aide H. R. Haldeman requested a name check on CBS 
reporter Daniel Schorr. In this instance, the FBI mistakenly con- 
sidered the request to be for a full background investigation and began 
to conduct interviews. These interviews made the inquiry public. Sub- 
sequently, White House officials stated (falsely) that Schorr was 
imder consideration for an executive appointment.'^ In another case, 
a Bureau memorandum states that Vice President Agnew asked the 
FBI for information about Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, then head 
of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, for use in "de- 
stroying Abernathy's credibility." ^^ (Agnew has denied that he made 
such a request, but agrees that he received the information.)^^ 

Several White House requests involved the initiation of electronic 
surveillance. Apparently on the instructions of President Nixon's aide 
John Ehrlichman and Director Hoover, FBI Assistant Director Wil- 
liam C. Sullivan arranged for the microphone surveillance of the hotel 
room of columnist Joseph Kraft while he was visiting a foreign 
country.^" Kraft was also the target of physical surveillance by the 
FBI.^^ There is no record of any specific "national security" rationale 
for the surveillance. 

Similarly, although the "17" wiretaps were authorized ostensibly to 
investigate national security "leaks," there is no record in three of the 
cases of any national security claim having been advanced in their 
support. Two of the targets were domestic affairs advisers at the White 
House, with no foreign affairs duties and no access to foreign policy 
materials,^- A third was a White House speechwriter who had been 
overheard on an existing tap agreeing to provide a reporter with back- 
ground on a presidential speech concerning, not foreign policy, but 
revenue sharing: and welfare reform.^^ 

'"" Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to John D. Ehrlichman, 10/6/69 ; letter from 
Clarence M. Kelly to Joseph Duffy, 7/14/75, enclosing FBI records transmitted 
under Freedom of Information Act. 

^ House Judiciary Committee Hearings, Book VII, White House Surveillance 
Activities (1974), p. 1111. 

^ According to Director Hoover's memorandum of the conversation, Agnew 
asked Hoover for "some assistance" in obtaining information about Rev. Aber- 
nathy. Hoover recorded : "The Vice President said he thought he was going to 
have to start destroying Abernathy's credibility, so anything I can give him 
would be appreciated. I told him I would be glad to." (Memorandum from Hoover 
to Tolson, et al. 5/18/70.) Subsequently, the FBI Director sent Agnew a report 
on Rev. Abernathy containing not only the by-product of Bureau investigations, 
but also derogatory public record information. (Letter from Hoover to Agnew, 

'* Staff summary of Spiro Agnew interview, 10/15/75. 

^"Memoranda from Sullivan to Hoover, 6/30/69 and 7/2/69. 

^ Memorandum from Sullivan to DeLoaeh, 11/5/69. The Kraft surveillance is 
also discussed in Part II, pp. 121-122. 

^ Coverage in these two cases was requested by neither Henry Kissinger nor 
Alexander Haig (as most of the "17" were), but by other White House officialSi 
Attorney General Mitchell approved the first at the request of "higher authority." 
(Memorandum from Hoover to Mitchell, 7/23/69.) The second was specifically 
rennested by H. R. Haldeman. (Memorandum from Hoover to Mitchell. 12/14/70. 

^ This tap was also apparently requested by White House oflSeials other than 
Kissinger or Haig. (Memorandum from Sullivan to DeLoaeh, 8/1/69.) The "17" 
wiretaps are also discussed at p. 122. 


Subfinding (h) 

In some cases, political or personal information was not specifically 
requested, but Avas nevertheless collected and disseminated to admin- 
istration officials as part of investigations they had requested. Neither 
the FBI nor the recipients differentiated in these cases between na- 
tional security or law enforcement information and purely political 

In some instances, the initial request for or dissemination of infor- 
mation was premised upon law enforcement or national security pur- 
poses. However, pursuant to such a request, information was furnished 
which obviously could serve only partisan or personal interests. As 
one Bureau official summarized its attitude, the FBI "did not decide 
what was political or what represented potential strife and violence. 
We are an investigative agency and we passed on all data." ^^ 

Examples from the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon ad- 
ministrations illustrate this failure to distinguish between political 
and nonpolitical intelligence. They include the FBI's reports to the 
"Wliite House in 1956 on NAACP lobbying activities, the intelligence 
about the legislative process produced by the "sugar lobby" wiretaps in 
1961-1962, the purely political data disseminated to the White House 
on the credentials challenge in the 1964 Democratic Convention, and 
dissemination of both political and personal information from the 
"leak" wiretaps in 1969-1972. 

(^•) The NAACP 
In early 1956 Director Hoover sent the "White House a memoran- 
dum describing the "potential for violence" in the current "racial 
situation".^^ Later reports to the "^^Tiite House, however, went far 
beyond intelligence about possible violence; they included extensive 
inside information about NAACP lobbying efforts, such as the fol- 
lowing : 

A report on "meetings held in Chicago" in connection Avith 
a plamied Leadership Conference on Civil Risfhts to be held in 
Washington under the sponsorship of the NAACP.^^ 

An extensive report on the Leadership Conference, based 
on the Bureau's ''reliable sources'" and describing plans of 
Conference delegations to visit Senators Paul Douglas. Her- 
bert Lehman, Wayne Morse, Hubert Humphrey, and John 
Bricker. The report also summarized a speech bv Rov Wil- 
kins, other conference proceedings, and the report of "an 
informant" that the United Auto Workers was a "predomi- 
nant organization" at the conference.^" 

Another report on the conference included an account of 
what transpired at meetings between conference delegations 
and Senators Paul Douglas and Everett Dirksen.^^ 

^ DeTx»ach. 12/3/75. Hearingrs. Vol. 6. p. ISO. 

"^ Memorandum from Hoover to Dillon Anderson. Special Assistant to the 
President. 1/.S/56. Tliis report was also provided to the Attorney General, the 
Sef'retary of Defense, and military intelligrence. 

^ Memorandum from Hoover to Anderson. 3/2/.56. 

^ Memorandum from Hoover to Anderson. .V5/.^6. 

'® Memorandum f I'om Hoover to Anderson, 3/6/56. 


A report including the information that two New Jersey 
congressmen would sign a petition to the Attorney General.^^ 

A presidential aide suggested that Hoover brief the Cabinet on 
"developments in the South."*" Director Hoover's Cabinet briefing 
also included political intelligence. He covered not only the NAACP 
conference, but also the speeches and political activities of Southern 
Senators and Governors and the formation of the Federation for Con- 
stitutional Government with Southern Congressmen and Governors on 
its advisory board.*^ 

(ii) The Sugar Lobby 
The electronic surveillance of persons involved in a foreign country's 
lobbying activities on sugar quota legislation in 1961-1962, authorized 
by Attorney General Robert Kennedy for the White House, also pro- 
duced substantial political intelligence unrelated to the activities of 
foreign officials.*- Such information came from wiretaps both on for- 
eign officials and on American citizens, as well as from the microphone 
surveillance of the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee 
when he met with foreign officials in a New York hotel room.*^ The 
following are examples of the purely political (and personal) by- 
product : 

A particular lobbyist "mentioned he is working on the Sen- 
ate and has the Republicans all lined up." ** 

The same lobbyist said that "he had seen two additional 
representatives on the House Agriculture Committee, one of 

^ Memorandum from Hoover to Anderson, 3/7/56. A National Security Council 
staff member responsible for internal security matters summarized these re- 
ports as providing information "regarding attempts being made by the Na- 
tional Association for the Advancement of Colofed People to send instructed 
delegations to high-ranking Government oflBcials 'to tactfully draw out their 
positions concerning civil rights.'" (Memorandum from J. Patrick Coyne to 
Anderson, 3/6/56. ) 

*° After consulting the Attorney General, this aide advised the Secretary to the 
Cabinet that the FBI had "reported developments in recent weeks in several 
southern States, indicating a marked deterioration in relationships between the 
races, and in some instances fomented by communist or communist-front organi- 
zations." (Memorandum from Anderson to Maxwell Rabb, 1/16/56.) The Secre- 
tary to the Cabinet, who had "experience in handling minority matters" for the 
White House, agreed that "each Cabinet Member should be equipped with the 
plain facts." (Memorandum from Rabb to Anderson, 1/17/56.) A National Secu- 
rity Council staff member who handled internal security matters reported shortly 
thereafter that the FBI Dii'ector was "prepared to brief the Cabinet along the 
general lines" of his written communications to the White House. (Memorandum 
from .1. Patrick Coyne to Anderson, 2/1/56.) 

" Memorandum from Director, FBI, to the Executive Assistant to the Attorney 
General, 3/9/56, enclosing FBI memorandum described as the "basic statement" 
used by the Director "in the Cabinet Briefing this morning on Racial Tension and 
Civil Rights." For a further discussion of the exaggeration of Communist influ- 
ence on the NAACP in this briefing, see pp. 250-257, note 151a. 

*^The electronic surveillances were generally related to foreign affairs con- 
cerns. See pp. 64-65. 

"The Americans include three Agriculture Department oflScials, the secretary 
to the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and two registered lobby- 
ing agents for foreign interests. For Attorney General Kennedy's relationship 
to thp microphone .surveillance of the Congressman, see p. 61, note 233. One 
of the wiretaps directed at a registered lobbying agent was placed on the oflSce 
telephone of a Washington law firm. (See p. 201) 

** FBI memorandum, 6/15/62. 


whom was 'dead set against vis' and who may reconsider, and 
the other was neutral and 'may vote for us.' " *^ 

The Agriculture Committee chairman believed "he had ac- 
complished nothing" and that "he had been fighting over the 
Rules Committee and this had interfered with his attempt 
to organize." '"' 

The "friend" of a foreign official "was under strong pres- 
sure from the present administration, and since the 'friend' is 
a Democrat, it would be very difficult for him to present a 
strong front to a Democratic Administration." *^ 

A lobbyist stated that Secretary of State Rusk "had received 
a friendly reception by the Committee and there appeared to 
be no problem with regard to the sugar bill." *^ 

A foreign official was reported to be in contact with two Con- 
gressmen's secretaries "for reasons other than business." The 
official asked one of the secretaries to tell the other that he 
"would not be able to call her that evening" and tliat one of 
his associates "was planning to take [the two secretaries and 
another Congressional aide] to Bermuda." *^ 

The FBI's own evaluation of these wiretaps indicates that they "un- 
doubtedly . . . contributed heavily to the Administration's success" in 
passing the legislation it desired.^" 

(iii) The 1964 Democratic Corwention 
Political reports were disseminated by the FBI to the White House 
from the 1964 Democratic convention in Atlantic City. These reports, 
from the FBI's "special squad" at the convention, apparently resulted 
from a civil disorders intelligence investigation which got out of hand 
because no one was willing to shut off the partisan by-product.^^ They 
centered on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party's credentials 
challenge. Examples of the political intelligence which flowed from 
FBI surveillance at the 1964 convention include the following : ^^ 

^ FBI memorandum, 6/15/62. 

" Memorandum from Hoover to Attorney General Kennedy, 2/18/61. This in- 
formation came from the Bureau's "coverage" (by microphone surveillance) of 
the Congressman's hotel room meeting. 

""^ FBI memorandum. 2/15/62. 

^ Memorandum from J. EJdgar Hoover to Robert Kennedy, 3/13/61. 

** Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Robert Kennedy, 3/13/61. 

^ Memorandum from W. R. Wannall to W. C. Sullivan, 12/22/66. According to 
a Bureau memorandum of a meeting between Attorney General Kennedy and 
FBI Assistant Director Courtney Evans, Kennedy stated in April 1961 that "now 
the law has passed he did not feel there was justification for continuing this 
extensive investigation." (Memorandum from Evans to Parsons, 4/15/61.) 

" There is no clear evidence as to what President Johnson had in mind when, 
as a contemporaneous FBI memorandum indicates, he directed "the assignment 
of the special squad to Atlantic City." (DeLoach to Mohr, 8/29/64) Cartha De- 
Loach has testified that Presidential aide Walter Jenkins made the original re- 
quest to him, but that he said it should be discussed with Director Hoover and 
that "Mr. Jenkins or the President, to the best of my recollection, later called 
Mr. Hoover and asked that this be done." DeLoach claimed that the purpose was 
to gather "intelligence concerning matters of strife, violence, etc." which might 
arise out of the credentials challenge. (DeLonch, 12/3/75. hearings. Vol. 6, p. 175.) 

^^The operations of the FBI in Atlantic City are described in greater detail in 
Section II, pp. 117-119. 


Dr. Martin Luther King and an associate "were drafting 
a telegram to President Johnson ... to register a mild 
protest. According to King, the President pledged complete 
neutrality regarding the selecting of the proper Mississippi 
delegation to be seated at the convention. King feels that 
the Credentials Committee will turn down the Mississippi 
Freedom Party and that they are doing this because the 
President exerted pressure on the committee along this 
line." '^ 

Another associate of Dr. King contacted a member of the 
MFDP who "said she thought King should see Governor 
Endicott Peabody of Massachusetts, Mayor Robert Wagner 
of New York City, Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown of 
California, Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago, and Governor 
John W. King of New Hampshire." The purpose was "to 
urge them to call the 'NAHiite House directly and put pressure 
on the White House in behalf of the I^IFDP." '^ 

"MFDP leaders have asked Reverend King to call Gover- 
nor Egan of Alaska and Governor Burns of Hawaii in an at- 
tempt to enlist their support. According to the MFDP spokes- 
man, the Negro Mississippi Party needs these two states plus 
California and New York for the roll call tonight." ^^ 

An SCLC staff member told a representative of the MFDP : 
"Off the record, of course, you know we will accept the 
Green compromise proposed." This referred to "the proposal 
of Congresswoman Edith Green of Oregon." ^® 

In a discussion between Dr. King and another civil rights 
leader, the question of "a Vice-Presidential nominee came 
up and King asked what [the other leader] thousfht of Hugh 
[sic] Humphrey, and [the other leader] said Hugh Hum- 
phrev is not goinof to get it, that Johnson needs a Catholic . . . 
and therefore the Vice-President will be Muskie of Maine." ®^ 

An unsigned White House memorandum disclosing Dr. King's 
strategy in connection with a meeting to be attended by President 
Johnson suggests that there was political use of these FBI reports.^^ 

(iv) The ''ir' Wiretaps. 
The Nixon White House learned a substantial amount of purely po- 
litical intelligence from wiretaps to iuA^estigate "leaks" of classified 
information placed on three newsmen and fourteen executive officials 
during 1969-1971.^^ The following illustrate the range of data 
supplied : 

One of the targets "recently stated that he was to spend an 
hour with Senator Kennedy's Vietnam man, as Senator 
Kennedy is giving a speech on the 15th." ^° 

® Mpmorandum from DeLoach to Jenkins. 8/24/64. 

^ Memorandum from DeLoach to Jenkins, 8/2.V64. 

^ Memorandum from DeLoach to Jenkins, 8/2.5/64. 

^ Memorandum rom DeLoach to Jenkins, 8/25/64. 

^ Mpmorandum from DeLoach to Jenkins. 8/25/64. 

^ Blind memorandum from LBJ Library bearing- handwritten date 8/26/64 and 
the typewritten <Tate 8/19/64, Hearines. Vol. 6, Exhibit 68-2, p. 713. 

^ In at least two instances, the wiretaps continued on targets after they left 
the Executive Branch and became advisers to Senator Edmund Muskie, then the 
leading Democratic prospect for the Presidency. See Part IT. p. 1?2. 

*° Memorandum from Hoover to Nixon, Kissinger, and Mitchell, 10/9/69. 


Another target said that Senator Fulbright postponed con- 
gressional hearings on Vietnam because he did not believe 
they would be popular at that time.^^ 

A well-known television news correspondent "was very 
distressed over having been 'singled out' by the Vice Presi- 
dent." «2 

A friend of one of the targets said the Washington Star 
planned to do an article critical of Henry Kissinger.®^ 

One of the targets helped former Ambassador Sargent 
Shriver write a press release criticizing a recent speech by 
President Nixon in which the President "attacked" certain 

One of the targets told a friend it "is clear the Administra- 
tion will win on the ABM by a two-vote margin. He said 
'They've got [a Senator] and they've got [another Sen- 
ator].'." «=^ 

A friend of one of the targets wanted to see if a Senator 
would "buy a new amendment" and stated that "they" were 
"going to meet with" another Senator.^^ 

A friend of one of the targets described a Senator as "mar- 
ginal" on the Cooper-Church Amendment and stated that 
another Senator might be persuaded to support it.^^ 

One of the targets said Senator Mondale was in a "dilemma" 
over the "trade bill." ^^ 

A friend of one of the targets said he had spoken to former 
President Johnson and "Johnson would not back Senator 
Muskie for the Presidency as he intended to stay out of 
politics." ^^ 

There is at least one clear example of the political use of such 
information. After the FBI Director informed the "Wliite House 
that former Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford planned to write a 
magazine article criticizing President Nixon's Vietnam policy,'" White 
House aide Jeb Stuart ISIagruder advised John Ehrlichman and H. R. 
Haldeman that "we are in a position to counteract this article in any 
number of ways." '^ It is also significant that, after ISIay 1970, the 
FBI Director's letters summarizing the results of the wiretaps were 
no lo2iger sent to Henry Kissinger, the President's national security 
advisor, but to the President's political advisor, H. R. Haldeman.^^ 

" Memorandum from Hoover to Nixon and Kissinger, 12/3/69. 

'^ Memorandum from Hoover to Nixon and Kissinger, 2/26/70. 

'^ Memorandum from Hoover to H. R. Haldeman, 6/2/70. 

** Memorandum from Hoover to Haldeman. 9/4/70. 

'^ Memorandum from Hoover to Nixon and Kissinger, 7/18/69. 

" Memorandum from Hoover to Haldeman, 5/18/70. 

*^ Memorandum from Hoover to Haldeman, 6/23/70. 

*' Memorandum from Hoover to Haldeman, 11/24/70. 

*® Memorandum from Hoover to Haldeman, 12/22/70. 

^ Memorandum from Hoover to Nixon, Kissinger, and Mitchell, 12/29/69. 

'^ Memorandum from Magruder to Haldeman and Ehrlichman, 1/15/70. Ehr- 
lichman advised Haldeman, "This is the kind of early warning we need more of — 
your game planners are now in an excellent position to map anticipatory action." 
(Memorandum from "E" (Ehrlichman) to "H" (Haldeman), undated.) Halde- 
man responded, "I aarree with .John's point. Let's get going." (Memorandum from 
"H" to "M" (Magruder) , undated) . 

" Report of the House Judiciary Committee, 8/20/74, p. 147. 


These four illustrations from administrations of both political par- 
ties indicate clearly that direct channels of communication between 
top FBI officials and the White House, combined with the failure to 
screen out extraneous information, and coupled with overly broad in- 
vestigations in the first instance, have been sources of flagrant political 
abuse of the intelligence process." 

Suhflnding (c) 

The FBI has also volunteered information to Presidents and their 
staffs, without having been asked for it, sometimes apparently to curry 
favor with the current administration. Similarly, the FBI has as- 
sembled information on its critics and on political figures it believed 
might influence public attitudes or Congressional support. 

There have been numerous instances over the past three decades 
where the FBI volunteered to its superiors purely political or personal 
information believed by the FBI Director to be "of interest" to them.'^* 

The following are examples of the information in Director Hoover's 
letters under the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson 

To Major General Harry Vaughn, Military Aide to Presi- 
dent Truman, a report on the activities of a former Roosevelt 
aide who was trying to influence the Truman administration's 

To Matthew J. Connelly, Secretary to President Truman, a 
report from a "very confidential source" about a meeting of 
newspaper representatives in Chicago to plan publication of 
stories exposing organized crime and corrupt politicians." 

To Dillon Anderson, Special Assistant to President Eisen- 
hower, the advance text of a speech to be delivered by a promi- 
nent labor leader. '^^ 

''^ It should be noted, howiever, that in at least one case the Bureau did dis- 
tinguish between political and non-political information. In 1968, when an aide 
to Vice President Humphrey asked that a "special squad" be sent to the Demo- 
cratic National Convention in Chicago. Director Hoover not only declined, but 
he also specifically instructed the SAC in Chicago not "to get into anything 
political" but to confine his reports to "extreme action or violence." (Memo- 
randum from Hoover to Tolson., et al, 8/15/68.) There were no comparable in- 
structions at Atlantic City. 

''*' Former Attorney General Francis Biddle recalled in his autobiography how 
J. Edgar Hoover shared with him some of the "intimate details" of what his 
fellow Cabinet members did and said, "their likes and dislikes, their weaknesses 
and their associations." Biddle confessed that he enjoyed hearing these deroga- 
tory and sometimes "embarrassing" tidbits and that Hoover "knew how to flatter 
his superior." (Francis Biddle, In Brief Authority [Garden City: Doubleday, 
1962], pp. 258-259.) 

A former FBI oflieial has described one aspect of the Bureau's practice : 

"Mr. Hoover would say what do we have in our files on this guy? Just what do 
we have? Not blind memorandum, not public source information, everything we've 
got. And we would maybe write a 25 page memo. "When he got it and saw what's 
in it, he'd say we'd better send that to the White House and the Attorney General 
so they can have in one place everything that the FBI has now on this guy. . . . 
(Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, pp. 141-142.)" 

'^None of these letters indicate that they were in response to requests, as is 
the case with other similar letters examined by the Committee. All were volun- 
teered as matters which Director Hoover considered to be "of interest" to the 

'* Memorandum from Hoover to Vaughn, 2/15/47. 

" Memorandum from Hoover to Connelly, 1/27/50. 

" Memorandum from Hoover to Anderson, 4/21/55. 


To Robert Cutler, Special Assistant to President Eisen- 
hower, a report of a "confidential source" on plans of Mrs. 
Eleanor Roosevelt to hold a reception for the head of a civil 
rights group. ^'' 

To Attorney General Robert Kennedy, information from a 
Bureau "source" regarding plans of a group to publish allega- 
tions about the President's personal lif e.^° 

To Attorney General Kennedy, a summary of material in 
FBI files on a prominent entertainer which the FBI Director 
thought "may be of interest".^^ 

To Marvin Watson, Special Assistant to President Johnson, 
a summary of data in Bureau files on the author of a play 
satirizing the President.^^ 

As these illustrations indicate, the FBI Director provided such data 
to administrations of both political parties without apparent partisan 

Additionally, during the Nixon Administration, the FBI's INLET 
(Intelligence Letter) Program for sending regular short summaries 
of FBI intelligence to the White House was used on one occasion to 
provide information on the purely personal relationship between an 
entertainer and the subject of an FBI domestic intelligence investi- 
gation.®* SACs were instructed under the INLET program to submit 
to Bureau headquarters items with an "unusual twist" or regarding 
"prominent" persons.®^ 

One reason for the Bureau's volunteering information to the "VMiite 
House was to please the Administration and thus presumably to build 
high-level political support for the FBI. Thus, a 1975 Bureau report 
on the Atlantic City episode states : 

One [agent said], "I would like to state that at no time did I 
ever consider (it) to be a political operation but it was obvious 
that DeLoach wanted to impress Jenkins and Moyers with the 
Bureau's ability to develop information which would be of 
interest to them." Furthermore, in response to a question as to 
whether the Bureau's services were being utilized for political 
reasons, [another] answered, "No. I do recall, however, that 
on one occasion I was present when DeLoach held a lengthy 
telephone conversation with Walter Jenkins. They appeared 
to be discussing the President's 'image.' At the end of the 
conversation DeLoach told us something to the effect, 'that 
may have sounded a little political to you but this doesn't do 
the Bureau any harm.' " ®^ 

In addition to providing information useful to superiors, the Bureau 
assembled information on its own critics and on political figures it 
believed might influence public attitudes or congressional support. 
FBI Director Hoover had massive amounts of information at his 

'"' Memorandum from Hoover to Cutler, 2/13/58. 

^ Memorandum from Hoover to Robert Kennedy, 11/20/63. 

" Memorandum from Hoover to Robert Kennedy, 2/10/61. 

^ Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 1/9/67. 

^ For additional examples, See Section II, pp. 51-53. 

^ Staff memorandum : Review of INLET letters, 11/18/75. 

*° Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 11/26/69. 

^ Memorandum from Bassett to Callahan, 1/29/75. 


fingertips. As indicated above, he could have the Bureau's files checked 
on anyone of interest to him. He personally received political infor- 
mation and "personal tidbits" from the special agents in charge of 
FBI field offices.^" This information, both from the files and Hoover's 
personal sources, was available to discredit critics. 

The following are examples of how the Bureau disseminated in- 
formation to discredit its opponents : 

In 1949 the FBI provided Attorney General J. Howard 
McGrath and Presidential aide Harry Vaughn inside infor- 
mation on plans of the Lawyers Guild to denounce Bureau 
surveillance so the}' would have an opportunity to prepare a 
rebuttal well in advance of the expected criticism.^^ 

In 1960, when the Knoxville Area Human Relations Coun- 
cil in Tennessee charged that the FBI was practicing racial 
discrimination, the Bureau conducted name checks on mem- 
bers of the Council's board of directors and sent the results 
to Attorney General William Rogers, including derogatory 
personal allegations and political affiliations from as far back 
as the late thirties and early forties.^^ 

When a reporter wrote stories critical of the Bureau, he was 
not only refused any further interviews, but an FBI official 
in charge of press relations also spread derogatory personal 
information about him to other newsmen.^" 

The Bureau also maintained a "not to contact list" of "those in- 
dividuals known to be hostile to the Bureau." Director Hoover spe- 
cifically ordered that "each name" on the list "should be the subject of 
a memo." ^^ 

^ Former FBI official Mark Felt has stated that the SAC's could have sent 
personal letters to Hoover containing such "personal tidbits" "to curry favor 
with him," and on one occasion he did so himself with respect to a "scandalous" 
incident. (W. Mark Felt testimony, 2/3/76, p. 91.) 

The following excerpt from one SAC's letter is an example of political informa- 
tion fed to the Director : "I have heard several comments and items which I 
wanted to bring to your attention. As I imagine is true in all States at this time, 
the political situation in [this state] is getting to be very interesting. As you 
know, Senator [deleted] is coming up for re-election as is Representative [de- 
leted]. For a long time it appeared that [the Senator] would have no opposition 
to amount to anything in his campaign for re-election. The speculation and word 
around the State right now is that probably [the Representative] will file for 
the U.S. Senate seat now held by [the Senator]. I have also been informed that 
[the Senator's] forces have offered [the Representative] $50,000 if he will stay 
out of the Senate race and run for re-election as Congressman." (Letter from 
SAC to Hoover, 5/20/64.) 

** Letter from Attorney General McGrath to President Truman, 12/7/49 ; 
letter from Hoover to Vaughn, 1/14/50. 

*" Memorandum from Hoover to Rogers, 5/25/60. 

*° Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, p. 211. Bishop stated that he acted on his own, 
rather than at the direction of higher Bureau executives. However, Director 
Hoover did have a memorandum prepared on the reporter summarizing every- 
thing in the Bureau's files about him, which he referred to when he met with 
the reporter's superiors. (Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, p. 215.) 

" Memorandum from Executives Conference to Hoover, 1/4/50. Early exam- 
ples included historian Henry Steele Commager, "personnel of CBS," and former 
Interior Secretary Harold Ickes. (Memorandum from Mohr to Tolson, 12/21/49.) 
By the time it was abolished in 1972, the list included 332 names, including 
mystery writer Rex Stout, whose novel 'The Doorbell Rang" had "presented a 
highly distorted and most unfavorable picture of the Bureau." (Memorandum 
from M. A. Jones to Bishop, 7/11/72.) 


This request for "a memo" on each critic meant that, before someone 
was placed on the list, the Director received, in effect, a "name check" 
report summarizing "what we had in our files" on the individual.^^ 

In addition to assembling information on critics, name checks were 
run as a matter of regular Bureau policy on all "newly elected Gover- 
nors and Congressmen." The Crime Records Division instructed the 
field offices to submit "summary memoranda" on such officials, cover- 
ing both "public source information" and "any other information that 
they had in their files," °^ These "summary memoranda" were provided 
to Director Hoover and maintained in the Crime Records Division for 
use in "congressional liaison "^ — which the Division head said included 
"selling" hostile Congressmen on "liking the FBI." ^^ 

It has been widely believed among Members of Congress that the 
Bureau had information on each of them.^^ The impact of that belief 
led Congressman Boggs to state : 

Our apathy in this Congress, our silence in this House, our 
very fear of speaking out in other forums has watered the 
roots and hastened the growth of a vine of tyranny which 
is ensnaring that Constitution and Bill of Rights which we 
are each sworn to uphold. 

Our society can survive many challenges and many threats. 

It cannot survive a planned and programmed fear of its 
own government bureaus and agencies.^^ 

Sub finding (d) 

The FBI has also used intelligence as a vehicle for covert efforts 
to influence social policy and political action. 

The FBI's interference with the democratic process was not the 
result of any overt decision to reshape society in conformance with 
Bureau-approved norms. Rather, the Bureau's actions were the natural 
consequence of attitudes within the Bureau toward social change, com- 
bined with a strong sense of duty to protect society — even from its 
own "wrong" choices. 

The FBI saw itself as the guardian of the public order, and be- 
lieved that it had a responsibility to counter threats to that order, 
using any means available.''^ At the same time, the Bureau's assess- 
ment of what constituted a "threat" was influenced by its attitude 
toward the forces of change. In effect, the Bureau chose sides in the 

^' Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, p. 207. 

*^ Tlie field office was also exi>ected to send to headquarters any additional 
allegations about the Congressman or Governor which might come to it.s atten- 
tion in future investigations, even if the Congressman or Governor was not 
himself the "subject" of the investigation. (Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, pp. 194- 

"* Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, pp. 206-7. 

*^ The FBI is not the only agency believed to have files on Congressmen. Ac- 
cording to Rep. Andrew Young, "in the freshman orientation" of new House 
members, "one of the things you are told is that there are seven agenices that 
keep files on private lives of Congressmen." (Rep. Andrew Young testimony, 
2/19/76, p. 48.) 

^ Remarks by Rep. Hale Boggs, House of Representatives, 4/22/71, Congres- 
sional Record, Vol. 117, Part 9, p. 11562. 

^ The means used are discussed in the finding on "Covert Action to Disrupt 
and Discredit Domestic Groups", as well as the Detailed Reports on COIN- 
TELPRO, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Black Panther Party. 


major social movements of the last fifteen years, and then attacked the 
other side with the unchecked power at its disposal. 

The clearest proof of the Bureau's attitude toward change is its own 
rhetoric. The language used in internal documents which were not 
intended to be disseminated outside the Bureau is that of the highly 
charged polemic revealing clear biases. 

For example, in one of its annual internal reports on COINTEL- 
PRO, the Bureau took pride in having given "the lie" to what it 
called "the Communist canard'' that "the Negro is downtrodden and 
has no opportunities in America." This was accomplished by placing 
a story in a newspaper in which a "wealthy Negro industrialist" stated 
that "the Negro will have to earn respectability and a responsible posi- 
tion in the community before he is accepted as an equal." It is signifi- 
cant that this view was expressed at about the same time as the civil 
rights movement's March on Washington, which was intended to 
focus public attention on the denial of opportunities to black Ameri- 
cans, and which rejected the view that inalienable rights have to be 
"earned." ^^ 

The rhetoric used in dealing with the Vietnam War and those in 
opposition to it is even more revealing. The war in Vietnam produced 
sharply divided opinions in the country; again, the Bureau knew 
which side it was on. For instance, fifty copies of an article entitled 
"Eabbi in Vietnam Says Withdrawal Not The Answer" were anony- 
mously mailed by the FBI to members of the Vietnam Day Committee 
to "convince" the recipients "of the correctness of the U.S. foreign 
policy in Vietnam." ^^ 

The Bureau also ordered copies of a film called "While Brave Men 
Die" which depicted "communists, left-wing and pacifist activities as- 
sociated with the so-called 'peace movement' or student agitational 
demonstrations in opposition to the United States position in Viet- 
nam." The film was to be used for training Bureau personnel in con- 
nection with "increased responsibilities relating to communist inspired 
student agitational activities." ^°° 

In the same vein, a directive to the Chicago field office shortly after 
the 1968 Democratic Convention instructed it to "obtain all possible 
evidence" that would "disprove" charges that the Chicago police 
used undue force in dealing with antiwar demonstrations at the 
Convention : 

Once again, the liberal press and the bleeding hearts and 
the forces on the left are taking advantage of the situation 
in Chicago surrounding the Democratic National Convention 
to attack the police and organized law enforcement agen- 
cies. . . . We should be mindful of this situation and develop 
all possible evidence to expose this acti\dty and to refute 
these false allegations.^"^ 

^'Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, et al., 

*® Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 

^"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office et al., 

'"^ Memorandum from FBI headquarters to Chicago Field Office 8/28/68. 


The Bureau also attempted to enforce its view of sexual morality. 
For example, two students became COINTELPEO targets when they 
defended the use of a four-letter word, even though the demonstration 
in which they participated "does not appear to be inspired by the 
New Left," because it "shows obvious disregard for decency and es- 
tablished morality." "^ An anonymous letter purportedly from an 
irate parent and an article entitled "Free Love Comes to Austin" 
were mailed to a state senator and the chairman of the University 
of Texas Board of Regents to aid in "forcing the LTniversity to take 
action against those administrators who are permitting an atmosphere 
to build up on campus that will be a fertile field for the New Left." "^ 
And a field office was outraged at the distribution on campus of a 
newspaper called SCREW, which was described as "containing a 
type of filth that could only originate in a depraved mind. It is repre- 
sentative of the type of mentality that is following the New Left 
theory of irmnorality on certain college campuses." ^°* 

As these examples demonstrata, the FBI believed it had a duty to 
maintain the existing social and political order. Whether or not one 
agrees with the Bureau's views, it is profoundly disturbing that an 
agency of the government secretly attempted to impose its views on the 
American people. 

(^) Use of the Media 
The FBI attempted to influence public opinion by supplying in- 
formation or articles to "confidential sources" in the news media. The 
FBI's Crime Records Division "^ was responsible for covert liaison 
with the media to advance two main domestic intelligence objectives : ^°® 

^•^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 11/4/68. 

^°^ Memorandum from San Antonio field office to FBI Headquarters, 8/12/68 ; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Antonio Feld Office, 8/27/68. 

^"* The field office also disapproved of the "hippy types" distributing the new.s- 
paper, with their "unkempt clothes", "wild beards", and "other examples of their 
nonconformity". Accordingly, an anonymous letter was sent to a state legi.slator 
protesting the distribution of such "depravity" at a state university, noting that 
"this is becoming a way of campus life. Poison the minds of the young, destroy 
their moral being, and in less than one generation this country will be ripe for 
its downfall." (Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 
5/2.3/69 ; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Newark Field Office, 1/69. 

los rpjjg Crime Records Division also had responsibility for disseminating infor- 
mation to cultivate a favorable public image for the FBI — a practice common to 
many government agencies. This objective was pursued in various ways. One sec- 
tion of the Crime Records Division was assigned to assemble "material that was 
needed for a public relations program." This section "developed information for 
television shows, for writers, for authors, for newspapermen, people who wanted 
in-depth informiabion concerning the FBI." The section also "handled scripts" 
for public service radio programs produced by FBI Field Offices ; reviewed scripts 
for television and radio shows dealing with the FBI ; and handled the "public 
relations and publicity aspect" of the "ten most wanted fugitives program." The 
Bureau attempted to assert control over media presentations of information 
about its activities. For example, Director Hoover's approval was necessary 
before the Crime Records Division would cooperate vf\t\\ an author intending 
to write a book about the FBI (Bishop testimony, 12/2/75. pp. e-8. 18.) 

^"'Memoranda recommending use of the media for COINTELPRO purposes 
sometimes bore the designation "Mass Media Program," which appeared mere- 
ly to signify the function of the Crime Records Division as a "conduit" for 
disseminating information at the request of the Domestic Intelligence Division. 
(Bishop testimony, 12/2/75, pp. 63-68, 88.) The dissemination of derogatory 
information to the media was usually reviewed through the Bureau's chain of 
command and received final approval from Director Hoover. (Bishop testimony, 
12/2/75, p. 89.) 


(1) providing derogatory information to the media intended to gen- 
erally discredit the activities or ideas of targeted groups or individuals ; 
and (2) disseminating unfavorable articles, news releases, and back- 
ground information in order to disrupt particular activities. 

Typically, a local FBI agent would provide information to a "friend- 
ly news source" on the condition "that the Bureau's interest in these 
matters is to be kept in the strictest confidence." ^°^ Thomas E. Bishop, 
former Director of the Crime Records Division, testified that he kept 
a list of the Bureau's "press friends" in his desk."^ Bishop and one 
of his predecessors indicated that the FBI sometimes refused to co- 
operate with reporters critical of the Bureau or its Director."^ 

Bishop stated that as a "general rule," the Bureau disseminated only 
"public record information" to its media contacts, but this category 
was viewed by the Bureau to include any information which could 
conceivably be obtained by close scrutiny of even the most obscure pub- 
lications.^^° Within these parameters, background information supplied 
to reporters "in most cases [could] include everything" in the Bureau 
files on a targeted individual ; the selection of information for publica- 
tion would be left to the reporter's judgment.^" 

There are numerous examples of authorization for the preparation 
and dissemination of unfavorable information to discredit generally 
the activities and ideas of a target ; ^^^ 

— FBI headquarters solicited information from field offices "on a 
continuing basis" for "prompt . . . dissemination to the news media . . . 
to discredit the New Left movement and its adherents." Headquaiiers 
requested, among other things, that : 

specific data should be furnished depicting the scurrilous and 
depraved nature of many of the characters, activities, habits 
and living conditions representative of New Left adherents. 

Field Offices were to be exhorted that "Every avenue of possible em- 
barrassment must be vigorously and enthusiastically explored." ^^^ 

— FBI headquarters authorized a Field Office to furnish a media con- 
tact with "background information and any arrest record" on a man 

'^'" For example, Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Atlanta Field OflBce, 

^"^ Bishop. 12/2/75, p. 33. 

^™ Cartha DeLoach, who handled media contacts for several years, testified that 
this technique was not actually used as much as the Director desired : 
If any unfair comment appeared in any segment of the press concerning 
Mr. Hoover or the FBI . . . Mr. Hoover . . . would say do not contact 
this particular newspaper or do not contact this person or do not co- 
operate with this person. ... If I had complied strictly to the letter 
of the law to Mr. Hoover's instructions, I think I would be fair in say- 
ing that we wouldn't be cooperating with hardly a single newspaper in 
the United States. . . . The men down through the years had to overlook 
some of those instructions and deal fairly with all .segments of the 
press. (DeLoach testimony, 11/25/75, pp. 213-214.) 
"" stated that the Crime Records Division was "scrupulous" in provid- 
ing information which could be cited to a "page and paragraph" in a public 
source. (Bishop. 12/2/75, pp. 24, 177-178.) 
"' Bishop, 12/2/75, pp. 13,5-136. 

"^ T. E. Bishop stated that from the FBI documents available to the Committee, 
it was impossible to determine whether an article was actually printed after a 
news release or a draft article had been supplied to a media source. (Bishop, 
12/2/75, p. 86. ) 

^ Memorandum from C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 5/22/68. 


affiliated with "a radical New Left element" who had been "active in 
showing films on the Black Panthers and police in action at various 
imiversities during student rioting." The media contact had requested 
material from the Bureau which "would have a detrimental effect on 
[the target's] activities," "* 

— Photographs depicting a radical group's apartment as "a sham- 
bles with lewd, obscene and revolutionary slogans displayed on the 
walls" were furnished to a free-lance writer. Tlie directive from head- 
quarters said: "As this publicity will be derogatory in nature and 
might serve to neutralize the group, it is being approved." ^^^ 

■ — The Boston Field Office was authorized to furnish "derogatory 
information about the Nation of Islam (NOI) to established source 
[name excised] " : 

Your suggestions concerning material to furnish [name] are 
good. Emphasize to him that the NOI predilection for vio- 
lence, preaching of race hatred, and hypocrisy, should be ex- 
posed. Material furnished [name] should be either public 
source or known to enough people as to protect your sources. 
Insure the Bureau's interest in this matter is completely 
protected by [name] .^^'^ 

One Bureau-inspired documentary on the NOI reached an audience 
of 200,000."'^ Altliough the public was to be convinced that the NOI 
was "violent", the Bureau knew this was not in fact true of the or- 
ganization as a whole.^^^ 

— The Section which supervised the COINTELPRO against the 
Communist Party intended to discredit a couple "identified with the 
Community Party movement" by preparing a news release on the 
drug arrest of tlieir son, which was to be furnished to "news media 
contacts and sources on Capitol Hill." A Bureau official observed 
that the son's "arrest and the Party connections of himself and his 
parents presents an excellent opportunity for expoitation." The news 
release noted that "the Russian-born mother is currently under a 
deportation order" and had a former marriage to the son of a promi- 
nent Communist Party member. The release added : "the Red Chinese 
have long used narcotics to help w^eaken the youth of target 
countries." ^^^ 

"* Memorandum to Director from SAC Miami, 3/10/70. Bishop testified that 
he "would hope" that in response to the directive to disseminate the target's 
"arrest record" the Division would have disseminated only conviction records. 
Bishop said that under the Attorney General's guidelines then in effect only 
conviction records or arrests which were a matter of public record in a par- 
ticular jurisdiction were to be disseminated. Bishop stated that his policy was 
not to disseminate an arrest record "especially if that arrest record resulted in 
an acquittal or if the charge was never completed . . . because that is not, to my 
mind, anything derogatory against a guy, until he actually gets convicted." 
(Bishop testimony, 12/2/75, pp. 163-167, 173.) 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Boston Field OflSce, 1/13/68. 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Boston Field OflSce, 2/27/68. 

"^Memorandum from Tampa Field Oflice to FBI Headquarters, 2/7/69. 

"' Deposition of Black Nationalist COINTELPRO supervisor, 10/17/75, p. 21 ; 
Deposition of George C. Moore, Chief of the Racial Intelligence Section, 11/3/75. 
p. 36. 

"* Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to W. C. Sullivan, 6/3/63. 


— When the wife of a Communist Party leader purchased a new car, 
the FBI prepared a news item for distribution to "a cooperative news 
media source" mocking the leader's "prosperity'' "as a disruptive 
tactic." The item commented sarcastically that "comrades of the self- 
proclaimed leader of the American working class should not allow 
this example of [the leader's] prosperity to discourage their con- 
tinued contributions to Party coffers." ^^° 

— After a public meeting in New York City, where "the handling 
of the [JFK assassination] investigation was criticized," the FBI 
prepared a news item for placement "with a cooperative news media 
source" to discredit the meeting on the grounds that "a reliable [FBI] 
source" had reported a "convicted perjurer and identified espionage 
agent as present in the audience." ^^^ 

—As part of the new Left COINTELPEO, the FBI sent a letter 
under a fictitious name to Life magazine to "call attention to the 
unsavory character" of the editor of an underground magazine, who 
was characterized as "one of the moving forces behind the Youth 
International Party, commonly known as the Yippies." To counteract 
a recent Life "article favorable" to the Yippie editor, the FBI's ficti- 
tious letter said that "the cuckoo editor of an unimportant smutty 
little rag" should be "left in the sewers." ^^^ 

Much of the Bureau's use of the media to influence public opinion 
was directed at disrupting specific activities or plans of targeted 
groups or individuals : 

— In March 1968, FBI Headquarters granted authority for furnish- 
ing to a "cooperative national news media source" an article "designed 
to curtail success of Martin Luther King's fund raising" for the poor 
people's march on Washington, D.C. by asserting that "an embarrass- 
ment of riches has befallen King . . . and King doesn't need the 
money." ^^^ To further this objective. Headquarters authorized the 
IMiami Office "to furnish data concerning money wasted by the Poor 
People's Campaign" to a friendly news reporter on the usual condition 
that "the Bureau must nat be revealed as the source." ^-* 

The Section Chief in charge of the Black Nationalist COINTEL- 
PRO also recommended that "photographs of demonstrators" at the 
march should be furnished; he attached six photographs of Poor 
People's Campaign participants at a Cleveland rally, accompanied by 
the note : "These show the militant, aggressive appearance of the par- 
ticipants and might be of interest to a cooperative news source." ^^^ 

— As part of the New Left COINTELPRO, authority was granted 
to the Atlanta Field Office to furnish a newspaper editor who had 
"written numerous editorials praising the Bureau" with "information 
to supplement that already known to him from public sources concern- 
ing subversive influences in the Atlanta peace movement. His use of 
this material in well-timed articles would be used to thwart the 
[upcoming] demonstrations." ^^^ 

^*' Memorandum from F. .T. Banmardner to W. C. Sullivan, 8/9/65. 

"^Memorandum from F. .T. Baum.firardner to W. C. Sullivan, 2/24/64. 

^-Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/16/68. 

^^ Memorandum from G. C. Moore to W. C. Sullivan, 10/26/68. 

"* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Miami Field Office. 7/9/68. 

^Memorandum from G. C. Moore to W. C. Sullivan, .'i/17/76. 

'^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Atlanta Field Office, 10/22/68. 


— An FBI Special Agent in Chicago contacted a reporter for a 
major newspaper to arrange for the publication of an article which 
was expected to "greatly encourage factional antagonisms during the 
SDS Convention" by publicizing the attempt of "an undergroimd 
communist organization" to take over SDS. This contact resulted in 
an article headlined "Red Unit Seeks SDS Rule." ^^ 

— FBI Director Hoover approved a Field Office plan "to get cooper- 
ative news media to cover closed meetings of Students for a Democratic 
Society (SDS) and other New Left groups" with the aim of "dis- 
rupting them." ^^^ 

— Several months after COINTELPRO operations were supposed 
to have terminated, the FBI attempted to discredit attorney Leonard 
Boudin at the time of his defense of Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon 
Papers case. The FBI "called to the attention" of the Washington 
bureau chief of a major news service information on Boudin's alleged 
"sympathy" and "legal services" for "communist causes." The reporter 
placed a detailed news release on the wires which cited Boudin's "iden- 
tification with Leftist causes" and included references to the arrest of 
Boudin's daughter, his legal representation of the Cuban government 
and "Communist sympathizer" Paul Robeson, and the statement that 
"his name also has been connected with a number of other alleged com- 
munist front groups." In a handwritten note, J. Edgar Hoover di- 
rected that copies of the news release be sent to "Haldeman, A. G., 
and Deputy." ^^^ 

The Bureau sometimes used its media contacts to prevent or post- 
pone the publication of articles it considered favorable to its targets 
of unfavorable to the FBI. For example, to influence articles which 
related to the FBI, the Bureau took aclA^antage of a close relationsliip 
with a high official of a major national magazine, described in an FBI 

'-' Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/18/69. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Indianapolis Field Office, 6/17/68. 

'^ FBI Memorandum from Bishop to Mohr, 7/6/71 ; Bishop testimony, 12/2/75, 
pp. 148-151. 

Two years earlier the Crime Records Division prepared a sixteen-page memo- 
randum containing information on "Leonard B. Boudin, Attorney for Dr. Ben- 
jamin Spock," written at the time of Spock's indictment for conspiring to violate 
the Selective Service Act. (FBI Memorandum from M. A. Jones to T. E. Bishop, 
2/26/68) The memorandum described "alleged associations and activities of 
Boudin" related to organizations or individuals considered "subversive" by the 
FBI, (Bishop, 12/2/75, pp. 134-135) and included: names of many of Boudin's 
clients ; citations to magazines and journals in which Boudin had published 
articles ; references to petitions he had signed ; and notes on rallies and academic 
conferences at which he had spoken. The memorandum indicated that "the "White 
House and Attorney General have been advised" of the information on Boudin's 
background. Notations on the cover sheet of the memorandum by high Bureau 
officials indicate that approval was granted for "furnishing the attached infor- 
mation to one of our friendly news contacts" but the information was not used 
until after the "results of appeal in Spock's case." Bishop did not recall dis- 
tributing the Boudin memorandum. (Bishop, 12/2/75, pp. 125-126) 

The head of the Crime Records Division speculated that the memorandum 
was prepared at the request of a reporter because he did not remember a request 
from Hoover or from the Domestic Intelligence Division, which was the normal 
route for assignments to the Crime Records Division. Division Chief Bishop 
testified that he probably instructed the Division "to get up any public source 
information that we have concerning Boudin that shows his connection with the 
Communist Party or related groups of that nature." (Bishop, 12/2/75, pp. 131- 


memorandum as "our good friend." Through this relationship, the 
FBI "squelched" an "unfavorable article against the Bureau" written 
by a free-lance writer about an FBI investigation ; "ix)9tponed pub- 
lication" of an article on another FBI case ; "forestalled publication" 
of an article by Dr. ISIartin Luther King, Jr. ; and received informa- 
tion about proposed editing of King's articles.^^° 

The Bureau also attempted to influence public opinion by using 
news media sources to discredit dissident gi^oups by linking them to 
the Communist Party : 

— A confidential source who published a "self-described conserva- 
tive weekly newspaper" was anonymously mailed information on a 
church's sponsorehip of efforts to abolish the House Committee on 
Un-American activities. This pix>mpted an article entitled "Locals to 
Aid Red Line," naming the minister, among others, as a local sponsor 
of what it termed a "Communist dominated plot" to abolish HUAC.^^^ 

— ^The Bureau targeted a professor who had been the president of 
a local peace center, a "coalition of anti- Vietnam and anti-draft 
groups." In 1968, he resigned temporarily to become state chairman of 
Eugene McCarthy's presidential campaign organization. Information 
on the professor's wife, who had apparently associated with Commu- 
nist Party members in the early 1950's, was furnished to a newspaper 
editor to "expose those people at this time when they are receiving 
considerable publicity in order" to "disrupt the members" of the 
peace organization.^^^ 

— Other instances included an attempt to link a school boycott with 
the Communists by alerting newsmen to the boycott leader's plans to 
attend a literary reception at the Soviet mission ; ^^^ furnishing infor- 
mation to the media on the participation of the Communist Party 
presidential candidate in the United Farm Workers' picket line ; "* 
"confidentially" informing established sources in three northern Cali- 
fornia newspapers that the San Francisco County Communist Party 
Committee had stated that civil rights groups were to "begin work- 
ing" on the area's large newspapers "in an effort to secure greater 
employment of Negroes ;" ^^^ and furnishing information to the media 
on Socialist Workers Party participation in the Spring Mobilization 
Committee to End the War in Vietnam to "discredit" the antiwar 

(n) Attacks on Leaders 
Through covert propaganda, the FBI not only attempted to in- 
fluence public opinion on matters of social policy, but also directly in- 

^^ Memorandum from W. H. Stapleton to C. D. DeLoach, 11/5/64. 

^^ Memorandum from Cleveland Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/28/64 : 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cleveland Field Office, 11/6/64. 

^"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Phoenix Field Office, 6/11/68. 

^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 2/4/64. 

"* The target was not intended to be the United Farm Workers, but a local 
college professor expected to participate in the picket line. The Bureau had 
unsuccessfully directed "considerable efforts to prevent hiring" the professor. 
Apparently, the Bureau did not consider the impact of this technique on the 
United Farm Workers' efforts. (Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to 
FBI Headquarters, 9/12/68 ; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Fran- 
cisco Field Office. 9/13/68. ) 

^■■^ Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/16/64. 

"* Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/10/67 ; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 3/14/67. 


tervened in the people's choice of leadership both through the electoral 
process and in other, less formal arenas. 

For instance, the Bureau made plans to disrupt a possible "Peace 
Party" ticket in the 1968 elections. One field office noted that "effec- 
tively tabbing as communists or as communist-backed the more hysteri- 
cal opponents of the President on the Vietnam question in the midst 
of the presidential campaign would be a real boon to Mr. Johnson." ^-^ 

In the FBI's COINTELPRO programs, political candidates were 
targeted for disruption. The document which originated the Socialist 
Workers Party COINTELPRO noted that the SWP "has, over the 
past several years, been openly espousing its line on a local and 
national basis through running candidates for public office." The 
Bureau decided to "alert the public to the fact that the SWP is not 
just another socialist group but follows the revolutionary principles 
of Marx, Lenin, and Engels as interpreted by Leon Trotsky." Several 
SWP candidates were targeted, usually by leaking derogatory in- 
formation about the candidate to the press.^^^ 

Other COINTELPRO programs also included attempts to disrupt 
campaigns. For example, a Midwest lawyer nmning for City Council 
was targeted because he and his firm had represented "subversives". 
The Bureau sent an anonymous letter to several community leaders 
which decried his "communist background" and labelled him a "charla- 
tan." ^^^ Under a fictitious name, the Bureau sent a letter to a television 
station on which the candidate was to appear, enclosing a series of 
questions about his clients and his activities which it believed should 
be asked.^*" The candidate was defeated. He later ran (successfully, 
as it happened) for a judgeship. Tlie Bureau attempted to disrupt this 
subsequent, successful campaign for a judgeship by using an anti- 
communist group to distribute fliers and write letters opposing his 

In another instance, the FBI attempted to have a Democratic Party 
fundraising affair raided by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control 
Commission. The fund raiser was targeted because of two of the can- 
didates who would be present. One, a state assemblyman running for 
reelection, was active in the Vietnam Day Committee ; the other, the 
Democratic candidate for Congress, had been a sponsor of the National 
Committee to Abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activi- 
ties and had led demonstrations opposing the manufacture of napalm 

Although the disruption of election campaigns is the clearest exam- 
ple, the FBI's interference with the political process was much broader. 

^^' Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/1/67. 

'^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 10/12/61. 

^^ Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/1/65; memo- 
randum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 9/22/65. 

"" Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 9/28/65 ; memo- 
randum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office. 10/1/65. 

"' Memorandum from Detroit Field Office, to FBI Headquarters, 1/19/67. 

"■ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 11/14/66. 
The attempt was unsuccessful ; a prior raid on a fire department's fund raiser 
had angered the local District Attorney, and the ABC decided not to raid the 
Democrats of "political ramifications." 


For example, all of the COINTELPRO programs were aimed at the 
leadership of dissident groups."^ 

In one case, the Bureau's plans to discredit a civil rights leader in- 
cluded an attempt to replace him with a candidate chosen by the 
Bureau. During 1964, the FBI began a massive program to discredit 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to "neutralize" his effectiveness 
as the leader of the civil rights movement."* On January 8, 1964, 
Assistant Director William C. Sullivan proposed that the FBI select 
a new "national Negro leader" as Dr. King's successor after the Bureau 
had taken Dr. King "off his pedestal" : 

When this is done, and it can and will be done . . . the 
Negroes will be left without a national leader of sufficiently 
compelling personality to steer them in the right direction. 
This is what could happen, but need not happen if the right 
kind of Negro leader could at this time be gradually devel- 
oped so as to overshadow Dr. King and be in the position to 
assume the role of leadership of the Negro people when King 
has been completely discredited. 

I want to make it clear at once that I don't propose that 
the FBI in any way became involved openly as the sponsor 
of a Negro leader to overshadow Martin Luther King. . . . 
But I do propose that I be given permission to explore further 
this entire matter. ... 

If this thing can be set up properly without the Bureau in 
any way becoming directly involved, I think it would not 
only be a great help to the FBI but would be a fine thing for 
the country at large. While I am not specifying at this 
moment, there are various ways in which the FBI could give 
this entire matter the proper direction and development. 
There are highly placed contacts of the FBI who might be 
very helpful to further such a step. . . ."^ 

The Bureau's efforts to discredit Dr. King are discussed more fully 
elsewhere."*' It is, however, important to note here that some of the 
Bureau's efforts coincided with Dr. King's activities and statements 
concerning major social and political issues. 

(in) Exaggerating The Threat 
The Bureau also used its control over the information-gathering 
process to shape the views of government officials and the public on the 

^^ The originating document for the "Black Nationalist" COINTELPRO ordered 
field oflBces to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" the 
"leadership" and "spokesmen" of the target groups. The "New Left" originating 
memo called for efforts to "neutralize" the New Left and the "Key Activitists," 
defined as "those individuals who are the moving forces behind the New Left ;" 
the letter to field oflBces made it clear that the targets were the "leadership" 
of the "New Left" — a term which was never defined. (Memorandum from FBI 
Headquarters to all SAC's, 8/25/67. ) 

^" Memorandum from Brennan to Sullivan, 5/9/68 ; memorandum from FBI 
Headquarters to all SAC's, 5/10/68. 

"'^Memorandum from Sullivan to Belmont, 1/8/64. Although this proposal 
was approved by Director Hoover, there is no evidence that any steps were taken 
to implement the plan. 

"* See Martin Luther King, Jr. Report : Sec. V, The FBI's Efforts to Discredit 
Dr. Martin Luther King: 1964, Sec. VII, The FBI Program Against Dr. King: 


threats it perceived to the social order. For example, the FBI ex- 
aggerated the strength of the Communist Party and its influence over 
the civil rights and anti- Vietnam war movements. 

Opponents of civil rights legislation in the early 1960s had charged 
that such legislation was "a part of the world Communist conspiracy 
to divide and conquer our country from within." The truth or falsity 
of these charges was a matter of concern to the administration, Con- 
gress, and the public. Since the Bureau was assigned to compile intelli- 
gence on Communist activity, its estimate w^as sought and, presumably, 
relied upon. Accordingly, in 1963, the Domestic Intelligence Division 
submitted a memorandum to Director Hoover detailing the CPUSA's 
"efforts" to exploit black Americans, which it concluded were an 
"obvious failure." ^^'' 

Director Hoover was not pleased with this conclusion. He sent a 
sharp message back to the Division which, according to the Assistant 
Director in charge, made it "evident that we had to change our ways 
or we would all be out on the street." "^ Another memorandum was 
'therefore written to give the Director "what Hoover wanted to 
hear." "» 

The memorandum stated, "The Director is correct;" it called Dr. 
Martin Luther King, Jr. "the most dangerous Negro of the future in 
this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and na- 
tional security;" and it concluded that it was "unrealistic" to "limit 
ourselves" to "legalistic proofs or definitely conclusive evidence" that 
the Communist Party wields "substantial influence over Negroes which 
one day could become decisive." "" 

Although the Division still had not said the influence was decisive, 
by 1964 the Director testified before the House Appropriations Sub- 
committee that the "Communist influence" in the "Negro movement" 
was "vitally important." ^^^ Only someone with access to the underlying 
information would note that the facts could be interpreted quite dif- 

^" Memorandum from Baumgardner to Sullivan, 8/23/63, p. 1. 

'*® Sullivan deposition, 11/1/75, p. 20. 

"" Sullivan deposition, 11/1/75, p. 29. 

"^"Memorandum from Sullivan to Director, FBI, 8/30/63. Sullivan described 
this process of "interpretive" memo writing to lead a reader to believe the Com- 
munists were influential without actually stating they were in control of a move- 
ment : "You have to spend years in the Bureau really to get the feel of this. . . . 
You came down here to 'efforts', these 'colossal efforts'. That was a key word of 
ours when we are getting around the facts. . . . You will not find anywhere in the 
memorandum whether the efforts were successful or unsuccessful. . . . Here is 
another one of our words that we used to cover up the facts, 'efforts to exploit', 
that word 'exploit'. Nowhere will you find in some of these memos the results of 
the exploitation. [Like] 'planning to do all possible', you can search in vain for a 
statement to the effect that their plans were successful or unsuccessful, partly suc- 
cessful or partly unsuccessful." (Sullivan, 11/1/75, pp. 15-16.) 

^ Hearings before the House Appropriations Subcommittee, 88th Cong., 
2d Sess. (1964), p. 309. Director Hoover's statement was widely publicized. 
(E.g., "Hoover Says Reds Exploit Negroes," New York Times, 4/22/64, p. 30) 
It caused serious concern among civil rights leaders who feared that it would 
hurt the prospects for passage of the 19(54 civil rights bill. 

iBia Director Hoover had included similar exaggerated statements about Com- 
munist influence in a briefing to the Eisenhower Cabinet in 1956. Hoover had 
stated, regarding an NAACP-sponsored conference : 

"The Communist Party plans to use this conference to embarrass the Adminis- 
tration by causing a rift between the Administration and Dixiecrats who have 


A similar exaggeration occurred in some of the Bureau's statements 
on communist influence on the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations. 

In April 1965 President Johnson met with Director Hoover to dis- 
cuss Johnson's "concern over the anti-Vietnam situation.'' According 
to Hoover, Johnson said he had "no doubt" that Communists were 
"behind the disturbances." ^^^ Hoover agreed, stating that upcoming 
demonstrations in eighty-five cities were being i^lannecl by the Students 
for a Democratic Society and that SDS was "largely infiltrated by 
communists and [it] has been woven into the civil rights situation 
which we know has large communist influence.'' ^^^ 

Immediately after the meeting, hoAvever, Hoover told his associates 
that the Bureau might not be able to "technically state" that SDS was 
"an actual communist organization.'' The FBI merely knew that there 
were "communists in it.'' Hoover instructed, however, "What I want 
to get to the President is the background with emphasis upon the 
communist influence therein so that he will know exactly what the pic- 
ture is." The Director added that he wanted "a good, strong memo- 
randum" pinpointing that the demonstrations had been "largely par- 
ticipated in by communists even though they may not have initiated 
them;" the Bureau could "at least" say that they had "joined and 
forced the issue.'' According to the Director, President Johnson was 
"quite concerned" and wanted "prompt and quick action.'' ^^* 

Once again, the Bureau wrote a report which made Communist "ef- 
forts" sound like Communist success. The eight-page memorandum 
detailed all of the Communist Party's attempts to "encourage" domes- 
tic dissent by "a crescendo of criticism aimed at negating every effort 
of the United States to prevent Vietnam from being engulfed by com- 
munist aggressors.'' Twice in the eight pages, for a total of two and a 
half sentences, it was pointed out that most demonstrators were not 
Party members and their decisions were not initiated or controlled by 
the communists. Each of these brief statements moreover, was followed 
by a qualification: (1) '■''however^ the Communist Party, USA . . . has 
vigorously supported these groups and exerted influence;" (2) '"'"While 
the March [on "Washington] was not Communist initiated . . . Com- 
munist Party members from throughout the nation participated." 
[Emphasis added.] ^^^ 

The rest of the memorandum is an illustration of what former 
Assistant Director Sullivan called "interpretive" memo writing in 

supported it, by forcing the Administration to take a stand on civil riglits leg- 
.islation ^^^th the present Congress. The Party hopes through a rift to affect the 
19.56 elections." [Emphasis added.] (Memorandum from Director, FBI, to the 
Executive Assistant to the Attorney General, 3/9/56, and enclosure.) 

Director Hoover did not include in his prepared briefing statement the infor- 
mation reported to the White House separately earlier that there was "no indi- 
cation" the the NAACP had "allowed the Communist Party to infiltrate the 
conference." (Hoover to Dillon Anderson. Special Assistant to the President, 
3/5/56.) According to one historical account, Hoover's Cabinet briefing "rein- 
forced the President's inclination to passivity" on civil rights legislation. (J. W. 
Anderson, Eiscnhotver, Broicncll, and the Congress: The Tangled Origins of the 
Civil Rights Bill of 19o6-57 [University of Alabama Press, 1964], p. 34.) 

"- Memorandum from Hoover to subordinate FBI oflicials, 4/28/65. 

^" Hoover memorandum, 4/28/65. 

^ Hoover memorandum, 4/28/65. 

'^Letter from Hoover to McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant to the 
Pre.sident (National Security), 4/28/65, enclosing FBI memorandum. Subject: 
Communist Activities Relative to United States Policy on Vietnam. 


which Communist efforts and desires are emphasized without any 
evaluation of whether they had been or were likely to be successful. 
The exaggeration of Communist participation, both by the FBI 
and "VVliite House staff members relying on FBI reports,"*^ could only 
have had the effect of reinforcing President Johnson's original tend- 
ency to discount dissent against the Vietnam War as "Communist 
inspired" — a belief shared by his successor.^" It is impossible to meas- 
ure the full effect of this distorted perception at the very highest pol- 
icymaking level. 

^^'See, e.g., a memorandum from Marvin (Watson) to the President, 5/16/67, 
quoting from a Bureau report tliat : "the Communist Party and other organiza- 
tions are continuing their efforts to force the United States to change its present 
policy toward Vietnam." 

^^' The report prepared by the intelligence agencies as the basis for the 1970 
"Huston Plan" Included the following similar emphasis on the potential threat 
(and downplaying of the actual lack of success) : 

"Leaders of student protest groups" who traveled abroad were "considered to 
have potential for recruitment and participation in foreign-directed intelligence 

"Antiwar activists" who had "frequently traveled abroad" were considered 
"as having potential for engaging in foreign-directed intelligence collection." 

The CIA was "of the view that the Soviet and bloc intelligence services are 
committed at the political level to exploit all domestic dissidents wherever 

Although there was "no hard evidence" of substantial foreign control of "the 
black extremist movement," there was "a marked potential" and the groups were 
"highly susceptible to exploitation by hostile foreign intelligence services." 

"Communist intelligence services are capable of using their personnel, facili- 
ties, and agent personnel to work in the black extremist field." 

While there were "no substantial indications that the communist intelligence 
services have actively fomented domestic unrest," their "capability"' could not 
"be minimized." 

"The dissidence and violence in the United States today present adversary 
intelligence services with opportunities unparalleled for forty years." [Emphasis 
added.] (Special Report, Interagency Committee on Intelligence (Ad Hoc), 
June 1970 ; substantial portions of this report appear in Hearings, Vol. 2, 
pp. 141-188. ) 


Major Finding 

The Committee finds that the product of intelligence investigations 
has been disseminated without adequate controls. Reports on lawful 
political activity and law-abiding citizens have been disseminated to 
agencies having no proper reason to receive them. Information that 
should have been discarded, purged, or sealed, including the product 
of illegal techniques and overbroad investigations, has been retained 
and is available for future use. 


(a) Agencies have volunteered massive amounts of irrelevant 
infonnation to other officials and agencies and have responded unques- 
tioningly in some instances to requests for data witliout assuring that 
the information would be used foi* a lawful purpose, 

(b) Excessive dissemination has sometimes contributed to the inef- 
ficiency of the intelligence process itself. 

(c) Under the federal employee security program, unnecessiai'y 
information about the ]3olitical beliefs and associations of prospective 
government employees has been disseminated. 

(d) The FBI, which has been the "clearinghouse" for all domestic 
intelligence data, maintains in readily accessible files sensitive and 
derogatory personal information not relevant to any investigation, as 
well as information which was improperly or illegally obtained. 

Elaboration of FhuHngs 

The adverse etfects on privacy of the Overbreadth of domestic intelli- 
gence collection and of the use of Intrusive Techniques have been mag- 
nified many times over by the dissemination practices of the collecting 
agencies. Information which should not have been gathered in the first 
place has gone beyond the initial agency to numerous other agencies 
and officials, thus compounding the original intrusion. The amount 
disseminated within the Executive branch has often been so volumi- 
nous as to make it difficult to separate useful data from worthless 

The Committee's finding on Political Abuse describes dissemination 
of intelligence for the political advantage of high officials or the 
self-interest of an agency. The problems of excessive dissemination, 
however, include more than political use. Dissemination has not been 
confined to what is appropriate for law enforcement or other proper 
government purposes. Rather, any information wdiich could have been 
conceived to be useful was passed on, and doubts were generally 
resolved in favor of dissemination. Until recently, none of the stand- 
ards for the exchange of data among agencies has taken privacy 
interests into account. The same failure to consider privacy interests 



has characterized the retention of data by the original collecting 

Suh finding (a) 

Agencies have volunteered massive amounts of irrelevant informa- 
tion to other officials and agencies and have responded unquestioningly 
in some instances to requests for data without assuring that the 
information would be used for a lawful purpose. 

The following examples illustrate the extent of dissemination : 

— FBI reports on dissident Americans flowed to the CIA at a rate 
as high as 1,000 a month. CIA officials regarded any names in these 
reports as a standing requirement from the FBI for information about 
those persons.^ 

— In 1967 the Internal Security Division of the Justice Department 
was receiving 150 reports and memoranda a day from the FBI on 
"organizations and individuals engaged in agitational activity of one 
kind or another." ^ 

— Attorney General Ramsey Clark could not "keep up with" the 
volume of FBI memoranda coming into him and to the Assistant At- 
torneys General on the 700,000 FBI investigations per year.^ 

— The Justice Department's IDIU sent its computer list of 10,000 to 
12,000 American dissidents to the CIA's Operation CHAOS (which 
apparently found it useless) and to the Special Service Staff of the 
Internal Revenue Service (which did use it as part of its program 
of tax investigations).* 

— In fiscal year 1974 alone, the FBI, the Civil Service Commission, 
and military intelligence received over 367,000 requests "for "national 
agency checks," or name checks of their files, on prospective federal 
government employees.^ 

The information disseminated to other agencies has often been con- 
sidered useless by the recipients. FBI officials have said they received 
"very little in the way of good product" from the National Security 
Agency's interception of the international communications of Amer- 
icans." FBI officials also considered most of the material on "the do- 
mestic scene" sent to them from the CIA mail opening project to be 
irrelevant "junk." ^^ The Secret Service destroyed over ninety j^ercent 
of the information disseminated to it by the FBI without ever putting 
it in its own intelligence files.^ Defense Department directives re- 
quire the destruction of a great deal of information it receives from 
the FBI about civilians considered "threatening" to the military, in- 
cluding reports on civilian "subversion." ^ 

Sometimes dissemination has become almost an end in itself. The 
FBI would often anticipate what it considered to be the needs of other 

^ Richard Ober testimony, 10/28/75, pp. 67, 68. 

* Memorandum from Kevin Maroney, et al, to Attorney General Ramsev Clark, 

=" Clark, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 249. This statistic refers to criminal in- 
vestigations as well as intelligence investigations. 

* See Part II, pp. 80. 95. 

' Statement of Attorney General Edward H. Levi before House Jxidiciary Com- 
mittee, February 1975. 

* W. R. Wannall testimony, 10/3/75, p. 13. 

" W. A. Branigan testimony, 10/24/75, Hearings, Vol. 4, p. 168. 
' GAO Report, p. 125. 

* DOD Directive 5200.27, 3/1/71. 


"appropriate agencies." ^ The Bureau has disseminated data to mili- 
tary intelligence agencie^s, regardless of whether or not there was 
likely to be serious violence requiring the dispatch of troops; the 
Bureau also disseminated information when there was no connection 
between the subject of the report and any militarj^ personnel or fa- 
cility. ^"^ Consequently, the computerized and non-computerized domes- 
tic intelligence data banks compiled by the Continental Army Com- 
mand cited the P'BI as "data source" for about 80 percent of the in- 
formation where a source was identified.^^ 

FBI dissemination to the military has shown how information can 
get into the hands of agencies which have no proper reason to receive 

The FBI disseminated a large volume of information on domestic 
political activities to the CIA, thus providing a substantial part of 
the data for the CHAOS program." Much of this information was 
also furnished to the State Department." The FBI sometimes dis- 
seminated reports to the CIA and the State Department if the subject 
matter involved public discussion of national security policy and pos- 
sible "subversive" influence. ^^ 

The FBI was also the largest source of political targets for tax 
investigations by the Special Service Staff of the Internal Revenue 
Service. While still in its formative days, SSS was placed on the FBI's 
distribution list in response to a request from an Assistant IRS Com- 
missioner for information regarding : 

various organizations of predominantly dissident or extrem- 
ist nature and/or people prominently identified with those 

" For example, in 1966 before the FBI had received any si)ecific instructions 
from the Attorney General to gather civil disturbance intelligence, Bureau Head- 
quarters advised all Field OflBces that "national, state, and local" government 
officials "rely on us" for information "so they can take appropriate action to 
avert disastrous outbreaks." Thus, FBI offices were told to "intensify and ex- 
pand" their "coverage" of demonstrations opposing "United States foreign policy 
in Vietnam" or "protests involving racial issues," in order to insure that "ad- 
vance signs" of violence could be "disseminated to appropriate authorities." 
(SAC Letter 66-27, 5/2/66) 

^° These policies were part of the formal obligation of the FBI under the 1949 
Delimitation Agreement with military intelligence. The Agreement itself re- 
quired the FBI to keep military intelligence agencies advised of tlie activities 
of "civilian groups" classed as "subversive." (Delimitation Agreement, 2/23/49.) 
And a Supplementary Agreement said, "Where there is doubt as to whether or 
not one of the other agencies is interested in information collected, it should be 
transmitted to the other agency." (Supplemental Agreement No. 1 to the Delimi- 
tation Agreement, 6/2/49.) 

" "Military Surveillance of Civilian Politics," Report of the Senate Subcom- 
mittee on Constitutional Rights (1973), p. 72. 

^ The Agreements between the FBI and military intelligence have not been 
revised to take account of the restrictions on Army .siurveillance imi>osed by the 
Department of Defense in 1971. See DOD Directive 5200.27, 3/1/71. 

" Richard Ober, 10/28/75, pp. 67, 68. 

" The FBI Manual stated that information concerning "proiwsed travel 
abroad" by domestic "subversives" was to be furnished to the CIA and the State 
Department, and Bureau Field Offices were told to recommend the "extent of 
foreign investigation" required. (FBI Manual of Instructions, Section 87, p. 33a, 
revised 4/15/63.) 

^^ For example. Reports on the ABM debate discussed on pp. 257-258. 

" Memorandum from D. W. Bacon to Director, FBI, 8/8/69. 


The FBI, perceiving that SSS would "deal a blow to dissident ele- 
ments," ^' decided to supply reports relating to this broad category of 
individuals and organizations. 

The FBI did not select the reports it forwarded on the basis of the 
presence of a probable tax violation, but on the basis of the political 
and ideological criteria IRS had supplied ;^ yet the furnishing of the 
report resulted in establishment of an SSS file and, subject to resource 
limitations, to a review of possible tax liability.^^ Among the other 
lists of "extremists," "subversives" and dissidents SSS received was a 
list of 2,300 organizations the FBI categorized as "Old Left," "New 
Left," and "Right Wing." " 

One reason for the Bureau's widespread dissemination of intelli- 
gence throughout the Executive branch was recalled by a former FBI 
official. In the late 1940s a sensitive espionage case involved a high 
government official. At that time the FBI held such information "very 
tightly," as it had during World War II. However, one item of in- 
formation that "became rather significant" had allegedly "not been 
disseminated to the White House or the Secretary of State." 

Mr. Hoover was criticized for that, and frankly, he never 
forgot it. From then on, you might say, the policy was dis- 
seminate, disseminate, disseminate.^" 

This testimony illustrates the dilemma of an agency which was blamed 
for inadequate dissemination, but never criticized for too much dis- 
semination. In practice, this dilemma was resolved by passing on any 
information "which in any way even remotely suggested that there 
was a responsibility for another agency." ^^ 

The following are examples of excessive dissemination, drawn from 
a random sample of materials in FBI headquarters files : 

— In 1969 the FBI disseminated to Army and Air Force intelligence, 
Secret Service, and the IDIL^ a report on a Black Student Union; the 
report which discussed "a tea" sponsored by the group to develop fac- 
ulty-student "dialogue" as a junior college and the plans of the col- 
lege to establish a course on "The History of the American Negro." 
There was no indication of violence whatsoever. Dissemination to the 
military intelligence agencies and Secret Service took place both at 
the field level and at headquarters, in Washington, D.C. The informa- 
tion came from college officials.^^ 

— In 1970 the FBI disseminated to military intelligence and the 
Secret Service (both locally and at Headquarters), as well as to the 
Justice Department (IDIIT, Internal Security Division, and Civil 
Rights Division) a report received from a local police intelligence 
unit on the picketing of a local Industries of the Blind plant by "blind 
black workers" who were on strike. The sixteen-page report included 
a copy of a handbill distributed at a United Church of Christ announc- 

" FBI memorandum from D. J. Brennan, Jr., to W. C. Sullivan, 8/15/69. 
"SSS Bi-weekly Reports, 6/15/70; from Donald Bacon, 9/15/75 pp. 91-05. 
" SSS Bi-weekly Report, 8/29/69. 

^Former FBI liaison with CIA deposition, 9/22/75, pp. 16-17. 
"Former FBI liaison with CIA deposition, 9/22/75, pp. 16-17; memorandum 
from Attorney General Tom Clark to J. Edg'ar Hoover, 12/5/47. 
^ Memorandum from Tampa Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/29/69. 


in^ a meeting at the church to support the strike, as well as copies 
of "leaflets that had been distributed by the blind workers." The only 
hint of violence in this report was the opinion of a local police intelli- 
gence officer that "young black militants," Avho supported tlie strike by 
urging blacks to boycott white-owned stores in the community, might 
cause "confrontations that might result in violence." ^^ 

—The FBI dissiminated a report on Dr. Carl Mclntyre's American 
Christian Action Council to the Secret Service in 1972. The cover 
memorandum to Secret Service indicated that the group fell within 
the category of the FBI-Secret Service agreement described as "poten- 
tially dangerous because of background, emotional instability or 
activity in groups engaged in activities inimical to U.S." The report 
itself reflected no "activities inimical to" the country, but only plans 
to hold peaceful demonstrations. The report also discussed policies 
and activities of the group unrelated to demonstrations, including 
plans to enter lawsuits in "school busing" cases, opposition to "Nixon ^s 
China trip" and support for a constitutional amendment for "public 
school prayer." This data came from a Bureau informant.-* 

— In 1966 the FBI disseminated to the Army, Navy, and Air Force 
intelligence divisions, to the Secret Service (locally and at Headquar- 
ters) , to the Justice Department and to the State Department a ten- 
page report on a "Free University." The report described in detail the 
courses offered, including such subjects as "Modern Film," "Workshop 
on Art and Values," "Contemporary Music," "Poetiy Now," and 
"Autobiography and the Image of SelJF." Over thirty "associates" were 
listed by name, although only one was identified as having "subversive 
connections" (and his course had been "dropped because not enough 
students had registered.") Others were identified as "involved in Viet- 
nam protest activities" or as being known to officials of a nearby es- 
tablished university as "problem people." The information came from 
several FBI informants and a confidential source.^^ 

— In 1966 the FBI disseminated to "appropriate federal and local 
authorities," including military intelligence, Secret Service, the De- 
partment of State and Justice, and a campus security officers (who was 
a former FBI agent) a report on a group formed for "discussion on 
Vietnam." The "controlling influence" on the organization was said 
to be "the local Friends Meeting." Only one person characterized as 
"subversive" was active in the group. The report was devoted to de- 
scribing a "speak out" demonstration attended by approximately 300 
persons on a university campus. The gathering was entirely peaceful 
and included "speakers who supported U.S. policies in Viet Nam." 
The data came from two Bureau informants.^^ 

— In 1969 the FBI disseminated reports to the White House, the 
CIA, the State Department, the three military intelligence agencies. 
Secret Service, the IDIU, the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney 
General, and the Internal Security and Civil Rights Divisions on a 
meeting sponsored by a coalition of citizens concerned about the Anti- 

^ Memorandum from Charlotte Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/10/70. 
" Letter from Acting Director, FBI, to Director, United States Secret Service, 

^ Memorandum from Detroit Field Office, to FBI Headquarters, 4/15/66. 
" Memorandum from Springfield Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 7/5/66. 

68-786 O - 18 


Ballistic Missile. The only indication of "subversive" influence was 
that one woman married to a Communist was assisting in publicity 
work for the meeting. The reports described (from reliable FBI 
sources) the speakers, pro and con, including prominent scientists, 
academics, and a Defense Department spokesman.^^ 

— In 1974 the FBI disseminated to the State Department, the 
Defense Intelligence Agency, the Secret Service, the Internal Security 
Division, and the Civil Disturbance Unit (formerly IDIU), exten- 
sive reports on a national conference on amnesty for war resistere. 
One of the participants had "recently organized [a] nonviolent pro- 
test demonstration" during a visit by President Ford, two others 
were identified as draft evaders, and the Vietnam Veterans Against 
the War were active at the conference. But the report went much 
further to describe — based on information from FBI informants — 
the activities of religious, civil liberties, and student groups, as well 
as "families of men killed in Vietnam" and congressional staff aides.^^ 

— In 1974 the FBI disseminated a report on a peaceful vigil in the 
vicinity of the Soviet Embassy in support of the rights of Soviet 
Jews, not just to the Secret Service and the Justice Department's 
Civil Disturbance Unit, but also to the CIA and the State Depart- 

— In 1972 the FBI disseminated a report to the CIA, Army and 
Navy intelligence, and an un-named "U.S. Government agency which 
conducts security-type investigations" in West Germany (apparently 
a military intelligence agency). The latter agency had asked the 
Bureau for information about an antiwar reservist group and a proj- 
ect to furnish "legal advice to GI's and veterans." The report des- 
cribed not only the reservists group, but also "a group dedicated to 
giving free legal aid to servicemen" and "an antiwar political group" 
which endorsed "political candidates for office who have a solid peace 
position and a favorable chance of being elected." The three groups 
"planned to share offices." This data came from a Bureau informant.^" 

The FBI does have an obligation to disseminate to local law en- 
forcement agencies information about crimes within their jurisdic- 
tion. NevertTieless, there has been improper dissemination to local 
police under at least two Bureau programs. Such dissemination oc- 
curred under COINTELPRO, as part of the FBI's effort to dis- 
credit individuals or disrupt groups.^^ Others were in response to 
local police requests for "public source" information relating to "sub- 
versive matters." ^^ Experienced police officials confirmed that the term 

" Memorandum from Washington Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/28/69 ; 
memorandum from Alexandria Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/3/69. 

^Memorandum from Louisville Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/14/74, 
11/15/74, 11/20/74. 

^ Memorandum from Washington Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/28/74. 

'"Memorandum from Legal Attache, Bonn, to FBI Headquarters, 1/11/72; 
memorandum from Boston Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/4/72. 

*^ See COINTELPRO report : Sec. IV, for examples of FBI dissemination to 
local police of data on trivial offenses for the purpose of disruption. 

^Tlie FBI responds to such requests with "a blind memorandum" upon the 
condition that the Bureau's "identity as source of the information must he 
kept strictly confidential." Bureau regulations do not link this procedure to any 
specific criminal law enforcement function. (FBI Manual of Rules and Regula- 
tions, Part II, Section 5, p. 7.) 


"subversive" is so broad that it inevitably leads to dissemination about 
political beliefs.^^ 

Other executive agencies have also engaged in excessive dissemina- 
tion. The Justice Department's Inter-Division Information Unit 
(IDIU) sent its computerized data to the CIA, in order that the CIA 
could cheek its records on foreign travel of American dissidents.^* The 
IDIU sent the same material to the Internal Revenue Service's Special 
Service Staff, which used the information as part of its program for 
initiating tax audits.^^ The Internal Revenue Service itself dissemi- 
nated tax returns or related tax information to the CIA, the FBI, 
and the Justice Department's Internal Security Division (which also 
made requests on behalf of the FBI), without ascertaining whether 
there was a proper basis for the request or the purpose for which the 
information would be used.^*^ 

Sub-finding (b) 

Excessive dissemination has sometimes contributed to the inef- 
ficiency of the intelligence process itself. 

The dissemination of large amounts of relatively useless or totally 
irrelevant information has reduced the efficiency of the intelligence 
process. It has made it difficult for decision-makers to weigh the im- 
portance of reports.^^ Agencies such as the FBI have collected intel- 
ligence, not because of its own needs or desires, or because it had been 
requested to do so, but because the data was assumed to be of value to 
someone else. Units established to screen and evaluate intelligence have 
encouraged, rather than reduced, further dissemination. 

In some instances the FBI has disseminated information to local 
police in a manner that was counterproductive to effective law enforce- 
ment. One former police chief has described how the Bureau, under 
"pressure" from the White House to prepare for a specific demonstra- 
tion, "passed on information in such a way that it was totally useless" 
because it was not "evaluated" and thus exaggerated the dangers.^^ The 
need for prior evaluation of the significance of raw intelligence has not 
been fully recognized in the Bureau's policy for dissemination of data 
on protest demonstrations.^® 

^Testimony of James F. Ahern (former New Haven police chief), Robert 
dlGrazia (Boston chief of police), and Patrick V. Murphy (former New York 
police commissioner and President of the Police Foundation), 1/20/76, p. 44, 
These experienced law enforcement oflScials stated that local police do not need 
information from the FBI about "political beliefs." 

"'See CHAOS Report: Section III. 

=^ See IRS Report : Section, "SSS." 

^ See IRS Report : Section, "Dissemination."" 

^ On at least one occasion. Justice Department officials expressed concern that 
they had received a report from the FBI on an incident and then a second report 
from Army intelligence which appeared to confirm the Bureau's information, but 
the Army's report turned out to have been based on the FBI's information. This 
led to a Justice Department request that the Army "screen" its intelligence and 
.send "only key items." (Memorandum for the Record General Counsel Robert B. 
Jordan to Under Secretary of the Army David McGifEert, 1/10/68.) 

^ Ahem. 1/20/76, p. 4. 

2» xhe FBI had adhered a he-board to the position that its reports do not 
contain "conclusions," and Bureau rules have permitted the dissemination of 
data from ".sources known to be unreliable" .so long as "good judgment" is used. 
It has been up to the recipient agencies "to intelligently evaluate the information" 
on the basis of "descriptive information" about the Bureau's sources. (FBI Man- 

( Continued) 


The impediments to accurate intelligence collection have been aug- 
mented by the dissemination practices of some local law enforcement 
agencies. An example is the report on the Chicago Police Department's 
Security Section, which has been described as having passed "inher- 
ently inaccurate and distortive data" to federal intelligence agencies.^" 
The General Accounting Office has confirmed that this is a general 
problem." While the Committee has not examined local law enforce- 
ment intelligence, the dissemination practices of such agencies require 
as much careful control as federal agencies.^- 

The assumption that some other agency might need information 
has not only produced excessive dissemination, but has also served as 
a specific rationale for collection of intelligence that was not otherwise 
within an agency's jurisdiction. The best example is the FBI's collec- 
tion of intelligence on "general racial matters" for the military.*^ 

One of the ironies in the recent history of domestic intelligence was 
that the Justice Department's IDIU, which was set up to collate and 
evaluate the massive amounts of data flowing to the Justice Depart- 
ment from the FBI, contributed to even more extensive collection and 
dissemination.^* The IDIU encouraged numerous federal agencies 

(Continued) x 

ual of Rules and Regulations, Part II, Section 5) Thus the FBI has not ade- 
quately distinguished between situations where evaluation is or is not necessary. 
More than just "descriptive information" about FBI sources is needed to help 
recipients of data on possible violent protest demonstration understand the likeli- 
hood of actual disorders. 

'" See Part II, p. 78. 

■*^ The GAO has ranked the types of sources of information relied upon by the 
FBI in beginning domestic intelligence investigations according to whether the 
data initially supplied were "hard," "medium," or "soft." According to the GAO, 
police and other state and local agencies were found to have provided the lowest 
proportion of "hard" information and the highest proportion of "soft" informa- 
tion. (GAO Report, p. 106). 

■" Two major cities have made efforts recently to establish standards for police 
intelligence activities. (Los Angeles Police Department, Public Disorder Intel- 
ligence Division : Standards and Procedures, 4/10/75; New York City Police De- 
partment. Procedures : Public Security Activities of the Intelligence Division, 
House Internal Security Committee, Hearings, Domestic Intelligence Operations 
for Internal Security Purposes, 1974. ) 

*^The FBI Manual cited the needs of the military as a basis for its intelligence- 
gathering on "general racial matters." The Manual stated that the Bureau did 
not itself have "investigative jurisdiction over such general racial matters," but 
that its "intelligence function" included advising "appropriate Government agen- 
cies" of information about "proposed or actual activities of individuals, officials, 
committees, legislatures, organizations, etc., in the racial field." The Manual based 
"Federal jurisdiction" on the military's responsibility : 

"Insofar as Federal jurisdiction in general racial matters is concerned, U.S. 
Armj' regulations place responsibility upon the Army to keep advised of any 
developments of a civil disturbance nature which may require the rendering of 
assistance to civil authorities or the intervention of federal troops. OSI (Air 
Force) and ONI (Navy) have a collateral responsibility under Army in such 
matters and copies of pertinent documents disseminated to Army concerning such 
matters should be furni.shed to OSI and ONI." (1960 FBI Manual Section 122, 
pp. 5-6) 

■" For example, in addition to containing the names of known activists, the 
IDIU printouts supplied to IRS's SSS also contained the names of many promi- 
nent citizens whom the .Justice Department thought could be of assistance in 
quelling a civil disturbance in a particular locality should one occur. SSS per- 
sonnel were unaware that the IDIU printout contained the names of these per- 
sons and established files indiscriminately on them. 


(including many without regular investigative functions) to dissemi- 
nate information to it about "organizations and individuals" who 
might "instigate" or "prevent" civil disorders,*^ 

Subjiivding (c) 

Under the federal employee security program, unne-cessary infor- 
mation about the political beliefs and associations of prospective 
government employees has l)een disseminated. 

For nearly thirty years the federal employee security program has 
required a "national agency check" of the files of several government 
agencies, including the FBI, the Civil Service Commission, and mili- 
tary intelligence, on prospective employees.*'' Although there was often 
no information to report, federal agencies received "name check" 
reports on all candidates for employment. This appears to have been 
the single largest source of regular dissemination of data in intelli- 
gence files. 

These name check reports have provided information from intel- 
ligence files not only about possible criminal activity or personal 
weaknesses of the individual, but also about lawful political activity 
and association. Until recently the Executive Order on employee secu- 
rity required reports on any "association" with a person or group 
supporting "subversive" views. These reports have been required for 
every federal employee, regardless of whether he or she holds a sensi- 
tive position or has access to classified information.*' 

It has been the policy of the FBI, and presumably other agencies 
as well, to disseminate via name che<^k reports any information in 
its files — no matter how old or how unreliable — which might relate 
to the standards of the Executive Order.*^ The current criteria have 
been substantially narrowed : the basic standards for reporting are 
group membership and potential criminal conduct.*^ However, the 
Justice Department has advised the FBI that "it is not possible to set 
definite parameters" for organizations and that the Bureau should 
include those with a "potential" for meeting the criteria.^" The FBI 
does not determine whether or not the information it furnishes is 
decisive under these standards. Departmental instructions state : 

It is not the Bureau's responsibility to determine whether 
the information is or is not of importance to the particular 

^ Attorney General Clark to Maroney, et al, 11/9/67. 

•"Executive Order 10450, Section 3(a). For a discussion of the origins and ap- 
plication of this order, pp. 42-44. 

*^ Executive Order 10450, Section 8(a) (5). 

** Memorandum from FBI to Senate Select Committee, 3/3/76. 

"* The current criteria are : "Knowing membership with the specific intent of 
furthering the aims of, or adherence to and active participation in, any foreign 
or domestic organization, association movement, group, or combination of per- 
sons (hereinafter referred to as organizations) which unlawfully advocates or 
practices the commission of acts of force or violence to prevent others from 
exercising their rights under the Constitution or laws of the United States or 
of any State, or which seeks to overthrow the Government of the United States 
or any State or subdivision thereof by unlawful means." (Executive Order 11785, 
Section 3, June 4, 1974.) This order also abolished the "Attorney General's 

^ Memorandum from Assistant Attorney General Glen E. Pommerening to FBI 
Director Clarence Kelley, 11/1/74. 


agenc}^ in the carrying out of its current activities and respon- 
sibilities and whether or not any action is taken by the de- 
partment or agency is not, of course, a principal concern of 
the Bureau.^^ 

The FBI itself has expressed misgivings about the breadth of its 
responsibilities under the employee security program. It has con- 
tinued to seek "clarification" from the Justice Department, and it has 
pointed out that there have been no "advei^se actions" taken against 
current or prospective Federal employees under the loyalty and secur- 
ity provisions of the Executive Order "for several years." This has 
been due to the fact "that difficulties of proof imposed by the courts 
in loyalty and security cases have proved almost insurmountable." ^^ 

The employee security program has served an essential function in 
full background investigation and name checks for those having access 
to classified information. But its extension to vaguely-defined "sub- 
versives" in nonsensitive positions has gone beyond the Government's 
proper need for information on the suitability of persons for employ- 

Sub finding (d) 

The FBI, which has been the "clearinghouse" for all domestic 
intelligence data, maintains in readily accessible files sensitive and 
derogatory personal information not relevant to any investigation, 
as well as information which was improperly or illegally obtained. 

In recent years, the Secret Sei*\''ice, military intelligence, and other 
agencies have instituted significant programs for the destruction or 
purging of useless information.^* However, the FBI has retained its 
vast general files, accumulated over the years under its duty to serve 
as a "clearinghouse" for domestic intelligence data.^^ There are over 
6,500,000 files at FBI headquarters ; and the data is retrievable through 
a general index consisting of over 58,000,000 index cards. Each Bureau 
Field Office has substantial additional information in its files. Domestic 
intelligence information included in the general index is described by 
the FBI as : 

associates and relatives of the subject; members of organiza- 
tions under investigation or determined to be possible subver- 

" Letter from Attorney General Tom Clark to J. Edgar Hoover, 12/5/47. The 
FBI advises that it considers this directive still to be in effect. (Memorandum 
from FBI to Select Committee, 3/3/76.) 

^^ Letter from Kelley to Pommerening, 12/11/74. The FBI has advised that 
federal employees are now^ evaluated according to "suitability" rather than 
"loyalty and security" criteria. (Memorandum from FBI to Select Committee, 

^ According to a 1974 Bureau memorandum and a confirming Justice Depart- 
ment memorandum, the purpose is to provide "information concerning possible 
subversive infiltration into the Executive Branch of Government." (Kelley to 
Pommerening, 8/14/74; Pommerening to Kelley, 8/26/74.) As indicated in the 
Committee's finding on overbreadth, the concept "subversion" is so vague and 
flexible as to invite excesses. 

^ Secret Service practices are described in Review of Secret Service Protective 
Measures, Hearings before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, 94th Cong., 
1st Sess. (1975), p. 16. Destruction of Army intelligence files is discussed in 
Report on Military Surveillance. 

^ For a discussion or the origins of this function, see p. 23. 


sive; individuals contributing funds to subversive-type ac- 
tivity ; subversive or seditious publications ; writere of articles 
in subvereive or seditious publications ; bookstores specializing 
in subversive-type publications and related types of informa- 

The Committee has found that there are massive amounts of irrele- 
vant and trivial information in these files.^'' The FBI has kept such 
data in its filing system on the theory that they might be useful some- 
day in the future to solve crimes, for employee background checks, to 
evaluate the reliability of the source, or to "answer questions or chal- 
lenges" about the Bureau's conduct.^^ 

The FBI has recently issued instructions to its Field Offices to take 
greater care in recording domestic intelligence information in its 
files. They are to exercise "judgment"' as to whether or not the ac- 
tivity is "pertinent" to the Bureau's "legitimate investigative in- 
terest." ^^ Nevertheless, current policies still allow the indexing of 
the names of persons who are not the subject of investigation but just 
attend meetings of a group under investigation.^" 

"" Memorandum from FBI to Senate Select Committee, 5/22/75. 

^Current FBI policies modify past practice with respect to the indexing of 
unsolicited allegations, including those of "a i)ersonal nature," not requiring "in- 
vestigative action." Tlie Bureau no longer includes in its name index the name 
of the person ahout whom the information is volunteered where the Bureau has 
"no legitimate investigative interest." In the case of an unsolicited letter, for 
example, the name of the sender only is included in the index. The letter itself 
is also retained so the FBI "can retrieve" it Wa the index reference to the sender 
"should an occasion arise in the future when we need to refer back to it." (Mem- 
orandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 11/10/75.) 

^* Memorandum from FBI to Select Committee, 7/21/75. This memorandum 
states that the Bureau has adopted, under regulations of the National Archives, 
a program for destroying files which "no longer have contemporary value." The 
FBI has not included within this program most of the investigative and intelli- 
gence information in its files dating back as far as 1939. 

59 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 1/27/76. The Field Offices 
were given the following specific guidance : 

"For example, the statement of a local leader of the Ku KUix Klan in which he 
advocates regular attendance at church would be merely an exercise of his right 
to free speech and, hence, maintenance of such a record would be prohibited. On 
the other hand, should this same individual stand up before a gathering and ad- 
vocate the use of violence in furthering the organization's objectives, this ob- 
viously would be pertinent to our investigation." 

Bureau headquarters recognized that these were "extreme" examples and that 
"problems" were created in "those instances which are in the middle and which 
are not so clear." Thus, FBI agents were encouraged to consult Headquarters "to 
resolve any question concerning a specific problem." 

*" One Field Ofl!ice has described regular Bureau procedures as follows : 

"[Our] informants, after attending meetings of these organizations [under 
investigation], usually submit reports in which they describe briefly the ac- 
tivities and discussions which took place as well as listing those members and 
non-members in attendance at such meetings. Copies of these informant re- 
ports are disseminated to various individuals' files and the names of those in 
attendance where no individuals file exists, are indexed to the organization's 
file." (Memorandum from SAC to FBI Headquarters, 12/1/75). [Emphasis 

FBI headquarters did not indicate that this practice was outside the "scope" 
of authorized "law enforcement activity." It is considered "pertinent" to the in- 
vestigation "to maintain records concerning membership, public utterings, and/or 
other activities" of an organization under investigation. (Memorandum from 
FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 1/27/76.) 


Finally, there is information in FBI files which was collected by 
illegal or improper means. It ranges from the fruits of warrantless 
electronic surveillance, mail openings, and surreptitious entries, to the 
results of sweeping intelligence investigations which collected data 
about the la\yful political activities and personal lives of Americans. 
Where such intelligence remain in the name-indexed files, it can be 
retrieved and disseminated along with other information, thus con- 
tinuing indefijiitely the potential for compounding the initial intrusion 
into constitutionally protected areas. 


Major Finding 
The Committee finds that those responsible for overseeing, super- 
vising, and controlling domestic activities of the intelligence com- 
munity, although often unaware of details of the excesses described 
in this report, made those excesses possible by delegating broad au- 
thority without establishing adequate guidelines and procedural 
checks ; by failing to monitor and coordinate sufficiently the activities 
of the agencies under their charge ; by failing to inquire further after 
receiving indications that improper activities may have been occur- 
ring; by exhibiting a reluctance to know about secret details of pro- 
grams; and sometimes by requesting intelligence agencies to engage in 
questionable practices. On numerous occasions, intelligence agencies 
have, by concealment, misrepresentation, or partial disclosure, hidden 
improper activities from those to whom they owed a duty of dis- 
closure. But such deceit and the improper practices which it con- 
cealed would not have been possible to such a degree if senior officials 
of the Executive Branch and Congress had clearly allocated respon- 
sibility and imposed requirements for reporting and obtaining prior 
approval for activities, and had insisted on adherence to those 


(a) Presidents have given intelligence agencies firm orders to col- 
lect information concerning "subvei-sive activities" of American citi- 
zens, but have failed until recently to define the limits of domestic 
intelligence, to provide safeguards for the rights of American citi- 
zens, or to coordinate and control the ever-expanding intelligence 
efforts by an increasing number of agencies. 

(b) Attorneys General have permitted and even encouraged the 
FBI to engage in domestic intelligence activities and to use a wide 
range of intrusive investigative techniques — such as wiretaps, micro- 
phones, and informants — but have failed until recently to supervise 
or establish limits on these activities or techniques by issuing ade- 
quate safeguards, guidelines, or procedures for review. 

(c) Presidents, White House officials, and Attorneys General have 
requested and received domestic political intelligence, thereby con- 
tributing to and profiting from the abuses of domestic intelligence 
and setting a bad example for their subordinates. 

(d) Presidents, Attorneys General, and other Cabinet officers have 
neglected until recently to make inquiries in the face of clear indica- 
tions that intelligence agencies were engaging in improper domestic 

(e) Congress, which has the authority to place restraints on do- 
mestic intelligence activities through legislation, appropriations, and 



oversight committees, has not effectively asserted its responsibilities 
until recently. It has failed to define the scope of domestic intelli- 
gence activities or intelligence collection techniques, to uncover ex- 
cesses, or to propose legislative solutions. Some of its members have 
failed to object to improper activities of which they were aware and 
have prodded agencies into questionable activities. 

(f) Intelligence agencies have often undertaken programs without 
authorization with insufficient authorization, or in disregard of ex- 
press orders. 

(g) The weakness of the system of accountability and control can 
be seen in the fact that many illegal or abusive domestic intelligence 
operations were terminated only after they had been exposed or threat- 
ened with exposure by Congress or the news media. 

Elaboration of Findings 

The Committee has found excesses committed by intelligence agen- 
cies — lawless and improper behavior, intervention in the democratic 
process, overbroad intelligence targeting and collection, and the use 
of covert techniques to discredit and "neutralize" persons and groups 
defined as enemies by the agencies. But responsibility for those acts 
does not fall solely on the intelligence agencies which committed 
them. Systematic excesses would not have occurred if lines of authority 
had been clearly defined ; if procedures for reporting and review had 
been established ; and if those responsible for supervising the intelli- 
gence community had properly discharged their duties. 

The pressure of events and the widespread confidence in the FBI 
help to explain the deficiencies in command and authorization dis- 
covered by the Committee. Most of the activities examined in this 
report occurred during periods of foreign or domestic crisis. There 
was substantial support from the public and all branches of govern- 
ment for some of the central objectives of domestic intelligence policy, 
including the search for "Fifth Columnists" before World War II; 
the desire to identify communist "influence" in the Cold War atmos- 
phere of the 1950s; the demand for action against Klan violence in 
the early 1960s; and the reaction to violent racial disturbances and 
anti- Vietnam war activities in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was 
in this heated environment that President and Attorneys General or- 
dered the FBI to investigate "subversive activities". Further, the 
Bureau's reputation for effectiveness and professionalism, and Direc- 
tor Hoover's ability to cultivate political support and to inspire appre- 
hension, played a significant role in shaping the relationship between 
the FBI and the rest of the Government. 

With only a few exceptions, the domestic intelligence activities re- 
viewed by the Committee were properly authorized imthin the intelli- 
gence agencies. The FBI epitomizes a smoothly functioning military 
structure: activities of agents are closedly supervised; programs are 
authorized only after they have traveled a well-defined bureaucratic 
circuit; and virtually all activities — ranging from high-level policy 
considerations to the minutia of daily reports from field agencies — 
are reduced to writing. These characteristics are commendable. An 
efficient law enforcement and intelligence-gathering machine, acting 
consistently with laAv, can greatly benefit the nation. However, when 
used for wrongful purposes, this efficiency can pose a grave danger. 


It appears that many specific abuses were not known by the Attor- 
ney General, the President, or other Cabinet-level officials directly 
responsible for supervising domestic intelligence activities. But 
whether or not particular activities were authorized by a President 
or Attorney General, those individuals nnvst — as the chief executive 
and the principal law enforcement officer of the United States Gov- 
ernment — bear ultimate responsibility for the activities of executive 
agencies under their command. The President and his Cabinet officers 
have a duty to determine the nature of activities engaged in by execu- 
tive agencies and to prevent undesired activities from taking place. 
This duty is particularly compelling when responsible officials have 
reason to believe that undesii'able activity is occurring, as has often 
been the case in the context of domestic intelligence. 

The Committee's inquiry has revealed a pattern of reckless disre- 
gard of activities that threatened our Constitutional system. Intelli- 
gence agencies were ordered to investigate "subversive activities,'' and 
were then usually left to determine for themselves which activities 
were "subvei-sive" and how those activities should be investigated. 
Intelligence agencies were told they could use investigative tech- 
niques — wiretaps, microphones, informants — that permitted them to 
pry into the most valued areas of privacy and were then given in many 
cases the unregulated authority to detei-mine when to use those tech- 
niques and how long to continue them. Intelligence agencies were en- 
couraged to gather "pure intelligence," which was put to political use 
by public officials outside of those agencies. This was possibly because 
Congress had failed to pass laws limiting the areas into which intel- 
ligence agencies could legally inquire and the information they could 

Improper acts were often intentionally concealed from the Govern- 
ment officials responsible for supervising the intelligence agencies, or 
undertaken without express authority. Such behavior is inexcusable. 
But equally inexcusable is the absence of executive and congressional 
oversight that engendered an atmosphere in which the heads of those 
agencies believed they could conceal activities from their superiors. 
Attorney General Levi's recent guidelines and the recommendations 
of this Committee are intended to provide the necessary guidance. 

Whether or not the responsible Government officials knew about 
improper intelligence activities, and even if the agency heads failed in 
their duty of full disclosure, it still follows that Pi-esidents and the 
appropriate Cabinet officials should have known about those activi- 
ties. This is a demanding standard, but one that must be imposed. The 
future of democracy rests upon such accountability. 

Subfinding {a) 

Presidents have given intelligence agencies firm orders to collect 
information concerning "subversive activities" of American citizens, 
but have failed until recently to define the limits of domestic intelli- 
gence, to provide safeguards for the rights of American citizens, or to 
coordinate and control the ever-expanding intelligence efforts by an 
increasing number of agencies. 

As emphasized throughout this report, domestic intelligence activi- 
ties have been undertaken pursuant to mandates from the Executive 
branch, generally issued during times of war or domestic crisis. The 


directives of Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower to investi- 
gate "subversive activities," or other equally ill-defined targets, were 
echoed in various orders from Attorneys General, who themselves en- 
couraged the FBI to undertake domestic intelligence activities with 
vague but vigorous commands. 

Neither Presidents nor their chief legal officers, the Attorneys Gen- 
eral, have defined the "subversive activities" which may be investi- 
gated or provided guidelines to the agencies in determining which in- 
dividuals or groups were engaging in those activities. No reporting 
procedures were established to enable Oabinet-level officials or their 
designees to review the types of targets of domestic investigations and 
to exercise independent judgment concerning whether such investiga- 
tions were warranted. No mechanisms were established for monitoring 
the conduct of domestic investigations or for determining if and when 
they should be terminated. If Presidents had articulated standards in 
these areas, or had designated someone to do the job for them, it is pos- 
sible that many of the abuses described in this report would not have 

Considering the proliferation of agencies engaging in domestic in- 
telligence and the overlapping jurisdictional lines, it is surprising that 
no President has successfully designated one individual or body to 
coordinate and supervise the domestic intelligence activities of the vari- 
ous agencies. The half-hearted steps that were taken in that direction 
appear either to have been abandoned or to have resulted in the con- 
centration of even more power in individual agency heads. For ex- 
ample, in 1949 President Truman attempted to establish a control 
mechanism — the Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference — to cen- 
tralize authority for supervising domestic intelligence activities of 
the FBI and military intelligence agencies in a committee chaired 
by the Director of the FBI. The Committee reported to the Na- 
tional Security Council, and an NSC staff member was assigned 
responsibility for internal security.^ The practical effect of the IIC 
was apparently to increase the power of the FBI Director and to 
remove control further from the Cabinet level. In 1962, the func- 
tions of the IIC were transferred to the Justice Department, and 
the Attorney General was put in nominal charge of domestic intelli- 
gence.^ Wliile in theory supervision resided in the Internal Security 
Division of the Justice Department, that Division deferred in large 
part to the FBI and provided little oversight.^ The top two executives 
of the Internal Security Division were former FBI officials. They 

^ National Security Council memorandum 17/5, 6/15/49. 

^ National Security Action memorandum 161, 6/9/62. 

^ For example, tlie FBI continued an investigation of one group in 1964 after 
the Internal Security Division told the Bureau there was "insufficient evidence" 
of any legal violations. ( Memorandum from Yeagley to Hoover, 3/3/64. ) Two 
years later, an FBI intelligence official suggested that it would lie "in the Bureau's 
hest interest to put the Department on record again." The Department approved 
the FBI's request for permission to continue the investigation even thougli 
there had been "no significant changes as to the character and tactics of the 
organization." The FBI did not request further instructions in this investigation 
until 1973. (Memorandum from Baumgardner to Sullivan, 7/15/66 ; memorandum 
from Yeagley to Hoover, 7/28/66.) 


appeared sympathetic to the Bureau, and like the Bureau, emphasized 
threats of Communist "influence" without mentioning actual results.'* 

Another opportunity to coordinate intelligence collection was missed 
in 1967, when Attorney General Ramsey Clark established the Inter- 
divisional Intelligence Unit (IDIU) to draw on virtuallj' the entire 
Federal Government's intelligence collecting capability for informa- 
tion concerning groups and individuals "who may play a role, whether 
purposefully or not, either in instigating or spreading civil disorders, 
or in preventing or checking them." ^ In the rush to obtain intelligence, 
no efforts were made to formulate standards or guidelines for con-